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Ice fish: strange but true.

Curious Connections--A group of fish known as noto-thenioids inhabits the Antarctic Ocean, where super-chilled water exists year-round. Ice fish such as the white crocodile fish live down to 2,000 feet in water that ranges down to about 28[degrees]F. While seawater at that temperature is salty enough to resist freezing, the much less salty blood of a fish should theoretically freeze.


It turns out that ice fish contain a de-icing substance called "antifreeze glycoprotein" that lowers the freezing point of their blood and tissues. They also lack hemoglobin, the material in the blood that carries oxygen and gives blood its red color. Ice fish have whitish blood, and also a large heart and blood vessels, to aid in oxygen transfer.

Medical personnel have become interested in these fish, hoping to find new treatments for blood-related diseases and to further knowledge of human cardiac physiology. Food scientists also have discovered that foods treated with the antifreeze glycoproteins from ice fish become immunized against freezer burn, which is caused by ice crystals growing in food.


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Title Annotation:Bits & Pieces; de-icing substance found in noto-thenioids' blood
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Dec 22, 2011
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