Biological X-ray microanalysis

J Microsc. 1979 Sep;117(1):145-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2818.1979.tb00236.x.


By means of X-ray microanalysis it is now practical to detect approximately 10(-19) g of an element in a static-probe analysis within an ultrathin section, with analytical spatial resolution in the range 20--30 nm. The main difficulties for biological microanalysis are connected not with sensitivity but with specimen preparation and beam damage. Careful cryopreparation, beginning with the quench-freezing of a small block of tissue, is essential even for determining the storage sites, or sites of binding in vivo, of physiologically active elements. In frozen-dried or frozen-hydrated sections of quench-frozen tissue, it is now possible to measure local mass fractions of diffusible as well as of bound elements.

MeSH terms

  • Biology
  • Electron Probe Microanalysis / methods*
  • Fixatives
  • Freezing
  • Image Enhancement
  • Microscopy, Electron / methods*
  • Minerals / analysis
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Fixatives
  • Minerals