Cryopreservation has been shown to improve the frequency of virus elimination - specifically cucumber mosaic virus and banana streak virus - from banana (Musa spp.) plants. To understand the mode of action of cryopreservation for the eradication of viral particles, we examined the ultrastructure of meristem tips at each step of the cryopreservation process. Excised meristematic clumps produced from infected banana plants belonging to cv. Williams (AAA, Cavendish subgroup) were cryopreserved through vitrification using the PVS-2 solution. We demonstrated that the cryopreservation method used only allowed survival of small areas of cells in the meristematic dome and at the base of the primordia. Cellular and subcellular changes occurring during the cryopreservation process are discussed.