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freeze-drying, the drying of biological objects in a frozen state under vacuum, the water being removed by sublimation of the ice (that is, conversion to steam, bypassing the liquid phase).
Lyophilization makes it possible to obtain dry tissues, medical preparations, and food products without a loss of structural integrity and biological activity. Most proteins are not denatured by the process and can be stored for a long time afterward under moderate cold (about 0°C). Freeze-dried tissues and preparations regain their initial properties when wetted. The process is used when there is a need for the long-term storage and preservation of various products of biological origin; to obtain dry donor plasma and dry sera and vaccines; for organ and tissue transplants; and in the pharmaceuticals and food industries. In the life-support systems of spaceships, it may be used as a means of regenerating water from moisture-containing materials.