The origins of freeze drying.
Freeze-drying was first actively developed during WWII. Serum being sent to Europe for medical treatment of the wounded required refrigeration. Due to the lack of available refrigeration, many serum supplies were spoiling before reaching the intended recipients. The freeze-drying process was developed as a commercial technique that enabled serum to be rendered chemically stable and viable without having to be refrigerated. Shortly thereafter, the freeze dry process was applied to penicillin and bone, and lyophilization became recognized as an important technique for preservation of biologicals. Since that time, freeze-drying has been used as a preservation or processing technique for a wide variety of products. Some of the applications include the processing of pharmaceuticals, diagnostic kits, restoration of water damaged documents, river bottom sludge prepared for hydrocarbon analysis, ceramics used in the semiconductor industry, viral or bacterial cultures, tissues prepared for analysis, the production of synthetic skins and restoration of historic/reclaimed boat hulls.[