Dry Biological Systems contains the proceedings of the 1977 American Institute of Biological Sciences symposium held in East Lansing, Michigan. Divided into seven parts encompassing 17 chapters, the book focuses on the adaptive strategy phenomenon of organisms under dry state or absence of water. The book answers several fundamental questions on dry biological systems, such as how an organism achieve a state that destroys most living systems; what adaptations permit the survival of dehydration; and what activities occur in the dry organisms.
After briefly discussing the nature of intracellular water in normal cells, the book examines the ultrastructure of dry organisms, including their metabolic activities during drying, in the dry state, and during rehydration. Parts IV to VI discuss the causes of cell viability loss while in dry, as well as their ecology and enzyme reaction at reduced water activity. Several presentations are made in which freezing and dehydration as stress vectors are compared. Covered papers in the book illustrate the belief that freezing and rehydration can be considered to be the same phenomenon, particularly with respect to the state of intracellular water.