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FEI Introduces Cryo Sample Prep Tool for Organic Samples

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FEI Company has introduced the next-generation Vitrobot™, a fully-automated vitrification device for plunge-freezing of aqueous samples.

The system is designed to maintain the cryo-fixation process at constant and user-definable physical and mechanical conditions, delivering reproducible sample freezing and high throughput, thus setting a standard for preparation of cryo samples and 3D observations of proteins and molecular machines in their natural state.

Cryo fixation and subsequent imaging of aqueous samples at cryo temperatures in a transmission electron microscope (TEM) is experiencing increased usage in the field of NanoBiology.

"The unraveling of the human genome and the subsequent demand for the exploration of genomic functionality, as part of the development of new medical therapeutics, has accelerated the need to reveal numerous macromolecular interactions between genetic material, proteins, membranes and cell organelles in their native state," said Rob Fastenau, senior vice president and general manager of FEI's NanoBiology Division.

"High resolution cryo-EM allows the study of all these structures and interactions at the 2D and subsequently 3D level, provided that the natural state of these structures is well preserved by cryo fixation," added Fastenau.

Its controlled environment climate technology is designed to prevent cooling and concentration artifacts that are inevitable in other "open space" freezing methods.

All essential vitrification parameters such as temperature, relative humidity, the number of blottings, blotting pressure and drain time can be programmed for individual applications and set for automatic retrieval.