Freezing Cells: What is Cryopreservation?

freezing cells

Preserve precious cells for future use with cryopreservation.

If you work with cells, you know one of the biggest challenges is keeping good viable stocks. One of the best ways to do this is through cryopreservation; the process of freezing cells so they can be thawed and used at a later time. But if you’re going to freeze cells, you need to do it right by using the right labware.

Why is cryopreservation important?

Cryopreservation allows you to store cells for long periods without worrying about them dying. If you’re working on a long-term project, want to store particular protein-expressing clones, or just need to keep cells around for future experiments, cryopreservation is the way to go. But as with any technique, cryopreservation has its challenges. One of the biggest challenge? Freezing cells. It can cause damage to cells, which can result in decreased viability and altered cell function when they’re thawed. That’s why it’s so important to use the right techniques and cryogenic products.

Cryogenic products


Cryovials are small plastic or glass tubes designed to hold cells for freezing. You’ll also need a cryoprotectant, which is a solution that helps protect cells from damage during the freezing process. Common cryoprotectants include dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and glycerol.

Other cryogenic products can make cryopreservation easier and more effective too. Here are a few:


These are insulated containers that can hold cryovials and are designed to maintain the low temperatures necessary for sample storage, usually in the range of -80°C to -196°C. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, from small benchtop boxes that can hold just a few vials to larger tanks that can hold hundreds.


Permanent markers are used to label cryovials with important information such as cell type, passage number, and freezing date. It may seem like a small thing, but labeling your vials can make a big difference when it comes to locating them in the cold stores.


These gloves are designed to protect your hands and the cells you’re working with during cryopreservation. They’re made of materials that can withstand low temperatures and protect against cryoprotectants.

Cryogenic vials and caps

Used for the storage of cryopreserved samples, cryogenic vials and caps are made of materials able to withstand the low temperatures required for sample storage. Th/c/cryogenic-vials-and-capsey are usually made of polypropylene, which has a low-temperature resistance and compatible with most cryoprotectants. Cryogenic vials come in different sizes, from small volumes of a few hundred microliters to larger volumes of several milliliters.


Labels are crucial in cryopreservation, especially when it comes to identifying samples. Cryogenic vials and boxes should be labeled with permanent markers or labels resistant to low temperatures and able to withstand cryogenic storage conditions. Each label should contain essential information such as the date of collection, the type of sample, the passage number and the identity of the researcher who collected the sample. A clear and legible label can prevent sample mix-ups and ensure accurate identification.

Save with cryobundles

Cryoboxes and cryovials

freezing cellsCole-Parmer 81-Place PP Freezer Boxes, Assorted Colors and Sterile Cryovials, 2 mL are bundles for your convenience and savings. The boxes withstand temperatures from -80 to 121 °C (-112 to 249.8 °F), and will not degrade with repeated thaws. Each box features an alphanumeric grid on the exterior and interior, stacking rings, and a matte surface suitable for markers or labels. The cryogenic storage vials with external thread caps combine polyethylene (PE) with a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), eliminating silicone O-rings for a safer sample storage environment.

Dewar and dataloggerdewar

Cole-Parmer® PolarSafe® Dewar and Traceable® Temperature Data Logger Bundle is the perfect combination to safely store your critical samples while maintaining sample integrity. Dewars feature durable aluminum construction to hold liquid nitrogen for up to 130 days without refill (depending on model). Included stainless steel racks allow you to store a variety of samples. The bundle adds on one Traceable® Wi-Fi data logger compatible with TraceableLIVE® cloud service designed specifically for temperatures down to –200°C. Once your data logger is set up, you can securely monitor parameters 24/7, control up to 100 alarms remotely, view your data logging history, run reports in real time, and give access to other team members.

View all dataloggers

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