Cryo bio-crystallography

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Cryo bio-crystallography is the application of crystallography at cryogenic temperatures.

Basic principles[edit]

Cryo crystallography enables X-ray data collection at cryogenic, near liquid nitrogen temperatures (also called: N2).

  1. Crystals are transferred from the solution they have grown in (called mother liquor) to a hydrocarbon environment
  2. Crystals are mounted with a glass fiber (as opposed to a capillary)
  3. Crystals are cooled with a cold nitrogen stream on a diffraction apparatus to prevent the solvent freezing in the crystals thus maintaining crystallographic integrity.


  1. Significant improvement of resolution in data collection
  2. Reduced or eliminated radiation damage in crystals

Usefulness and applications[edit]

Crystallography of large biological macromolecules can be achieved while maintaining their solution state. The most known example is the ribosome. [1]


  1. ^ Hope H (1988). "Cryocrystallography of biological macromolecules: a generally applicable method". Acta Crystallogr. B. 44 (1): 22–26. doi:10.1107/s0108768187008632. PMID 3271102.