Contains all the necessary information and advice required by anyone wishing to obtain electron micrographs showing the most accurate ultrastructural detail in any type of biological specimen.
The series "Practical Methods in Electron Microscopy" is well known to any self-respecting electron microscopist. The first few books in the series were already well-established when I was an undergraduate. Who can forget the seminal volume 3, "Fixation, Dehydration and Embedding of Biological Specimens," or volume 10, "Low Temperature Methods in Biological Electron Microscopy," a particular favourite of mine. Now, some 25 years on, we have reached volume 17. You would think that there is nothing left to say, but not a bit of it. True, this book brings together aspects of specimen preparation that are well known (in many ways it is an update of volume 3), but it also contains new material, or at least material that I have not come across before. This volume contains all sorts of cunning little techniques such as methods for encapsulation of cell pellets or ways of embedding cultured cells, as well as discussing in more general terms the pros and cons of differing fixation and embedding protocols.
"Electron microscopy has been through something of a decline in recent years. The high cost of buying and maintaining electron microscopes, the lack of skilled expertise and competition from confocal microscopes have all combined to make these research tools slightly unfashionable. It is a shame and in my opinion short-sighted. It is all very well for biochemists to discover new proteins and molecular biologists to engineer new genes but what is actually happening in the cells? Where are these proteins? What effect is this new gene having? Often the best clue comes from electron microscopy, with it's superior resolving power: the books in this series are a valuable fund of information thatallow us to look inside cells and help us visualize all manner of cellular processes.
"So, who is this book directed at? Certainly, it is probably too specialized for undergraduates and it won't give the general reader a basic grounding in electron microscopy. Rather, as is the case with the others in the series, this is an excellent reference book and probably the first place I would turn to for information on specific applications. It is all very well consulting specific references for individual protocols but in my experience they often don't run as smoothly as I would hope. By contrast, the methods outlined here have been well tried and tested and consequently have a much greater chance of success. Does this, I wonder, make Audrey Glauert the Delia Smith of electron microscopy?
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