Friday, 27 May 2011

Difference between a Microtome and a Cryostat

A Microtome is used to cut very thin sections at room temperature, on the other hand a Cryostat is used to cut frozen sections at sub zero temperatures (generally -30 deg C).

A cryostat is used in situations where rapid analysis of tissues is required. The water rich tissue is frozen on a quick freezing shelf inside the cryostat, this makes it very hard and it is then ready to be cut into thin sections in a microtome, also placed inside the cryostat chamber.

On the other hand to be cut in a simple microtome, the tissue needs to be first dehydrated and fixed in paraffin before  it can be sectioned. It is a long procedure compared to quick sectioning in a cryostat.

The quality of sections cut in a cryostat is inferior compared to those cut in a microtome because dehydrated and  paraffin embedded tissues give better sections but when it comes to quick sectioning, Cryostat is the choice. 

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