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Ice-binding proteins (IBP) facilitate survival under extreme conditions in diverse life forms. IBPs in polar fishes block further growth of internalized environmental ice and inhibit ice recrystallization of accumulated internal crystals. Algae use IBPs to structure ice, while ice adhesion is critical for the Antarctic bacterium Marinomonas primoryensis. Successful translation of this natural cryoprotective ability into man-made materials holds great promise but is still in its infancy. This review covers recent advances in the field of ice-binding proteins and their synthetic analogues, highlighting fundamental insights into IBP functioning as a foundation for the knowledge-based development of cheap, bio-inspired mimics through scalable production routes. Recent advances in the utilisation of IBPs and their analogues to e.g. improve cryopreservation, ice-templating strategies, gas hydrate inhibition and other technologies are presented.

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No one likes the cold. Humans wear scarves, fur boots, quilted coats and woollen hats to keep the harshness of winter out while other creatures grow their own fur or line their bodies with a thick layer of blubber. There are those, too, who have a more subtle...