Rapidly-frozen hydrated (cryopreserved) specimens combined with cryo-scanning x-ray fluorescence microscopy provide an ideal approach for investigating elemental distributions in biological cells and tissues. However, because cryopreservation does not deactivate potentially infectious agents associated with Risk Group 2 biological materials, one must be concerned with contamination of expensive and complicated cryogenic x-ray microscopes when working with such materials. We employed ultraviolet germicidal irradiation to decontaminate previously cryopreserved cells under liquid nitrogen, and then investigated its effects on elemental distributions under both frozen hydrated and freeze dried states with x-ray fluorescence microscopy. We show that the contents and distributions of most biologically important elements remain nearly unchanged when compared with non-ultraviolet-irradiated counterparts, even after multiple cycles of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation and cryogenic x-ray imaging. This provides a potential pathway for rendering Risk Group 2 biological materials safe for handling in multiuser cryogenic x-ray microscopes without affecting the fidelity of the results.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)