The Natural History Museum of London announced at the end of July the formation of the first Frozen Ark project, which aims to capture and store both live and dead animal tissues from animals in danger of extinction and create a frozen databank of such material from around the world.


Initially working in collaboration with Nottingham University and the Institute of Zoology but with the aim of widening the participation to other countries and regions – the Frozen Ark's main goal is to collate and store reference material for the \\$quot;Tree of Life\\$quot; – in order that evolution of animals and relationship with other species can be logged, researched and materials stored for future generations to research.

What caught our eye was the reference to low temperature storage or the 'frozen ark' title. Dating back to the mid 19th Century, the usual form of storage of animal material was in Formaldehyde – in the 20th Century the storage medium was changed to alcohol but in more recent years – low temperature storage has been growing in use.

A spokesman for the Natural History Museum states that currently the plan was to use mechanical refrigeration to freeze and store reference material to -80oC. Security is provided in the form of a second refrigerator with liquid CO2 back-up (dip tube cylinders). gasworld enquired about cryogenic freezing and storage and was informed that the cryogenic processes and equipment were preferred but budget constraints for the project limit the choice to mechanical refrigeration at present. We believe that there is a role to play for industrial gas suppliers and equipment to work together with such institutions in order to participate in a greater (global Frozen Ark) in which varying countries will participate.