Ultracryotomy of fixed tissue has been investigated for a number of years but, so far, success has been limited for several reasons. The simple technique herein reported allows the ultracryotomy not only of a variety of tissues but also of single cells in suspension, with a preservation and visualization of ultrastructural detail at least equivalent to that obtained with conventional embedding procedures. In this technique, sucrose is infused into glutaraldehyde-fixed tissue pieces before freezing for the purpose of controlling the sectioning consistency. By choosing the proper combinations of sucrose concentration and sectioning temperature, a wide variety of tissues can be smoothly sectioned. Isolated cells, suspended in a sucrose solution, are sectioned by sectioning the frozen droplet of the suspension. A small liquid droplet of a saturated or near-saturated sucrose solution, suspended on the tip of an eyelash probe, is used to transfer frozen sections from the knife edge onto a grid substrate or a water surface. Upon melting of the sections on the surface of the sucrose droplet, they are spread flat and smooth due to surface tension. When the section of a suspension of single cells melts, individual sections of cells remain confined to the small area of the droplet surface. These devices make it possible to cut wide dry sections, and to avoid flotation on dimethyl sulfoxide solutions. With appropriate staining procedures, well-preserved ultrastructural detail can be observed. The technique is illustrated with a number of tissue preparations and with suspensions of erythrocytes and bacterial cells.

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