X-ray microanalysis of frozen-hydrated tissue sections permits direct quantitative analysis of diffusible elements in defined cellular compartments. Because the sections are hydrated, elemental concentrations can be defined as wet-weight mass fractions. Use of these techniques should also permit determination of water fraction in cellular compartments. Reliable preparative techniques provide flat, smooth, 0.5 micrometers-thick sections with little elemental and morphological disruption. The specimen support and transfer system described permits hydrated sections to be transferred to the scanning electron microscope cold stage for examination and analysis without contamination or water loss and without introduction of extraneous x-ray radiation.

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