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Crystal Growth Rate Dispersion: A Predictor of Crystal Quality in Microgravity?In theory macromolecular crystals grow through a process involving at least two transport phenomena of solute to the crystal surface: diffusion and convection. In absence of standard gravitational forces, the ratio of these two phenomena can change and explain why crystal growth in microgravity is different from that on Earth. Experimental evidence clearly shows, however, that crystal growth of various systems is not equally sensitive to reduction in gravitational forces, leading to quality improvement in microgravity for some crystals but not for others. We hypothesize that the differences in final crystal quality are related to crystal growth rate dispersion. If growth rate dispersion exists on Earth, decreases in microgravity, and coincides with crystal quality improvements then this dispersion is a predictor for crystal quality improvement. In order to test this hypothesis, we will measure growth rate dispersion both in microgravity and on Earth and will correlate the data with previously established data on crystal quality differences for the two environments. We present here the first crystal growth rate measurement data for three proteins (lysozyme, xylose isomerase and human recombinant insulin), collected on Earth, using hardware identical to the hardware to be used in microgravity and show how these data correlate with crystal quality improvements established in microgravity.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Kephart, Richard D.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Judge, Russell A.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Snell, Edward H.
(Universities Space Research Association Huntsville, AL, United States)
vanderWoerd, Mark J.
(Universities Space Research Association Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2003
Subject Category
Space Sciences (General)
Meeting Information
Meeting: American Crystallographic Association Meeting
Location: Covington, KY
Country: United States
Start Date: July 26, 2003
End Date: July 31, 2003
Sponsors: American Crystallographic Association
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