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Posted: Sep 01, 2008

Protein Crystals Can Be Rapidly and Accurately Identified by UV Microspectroscopy

(Nanowerk News) Protein crystals have many uses ranging from basic research of the proteins themselves to controlling drug delivery, advanced drug design and even in bioseparation processes. Most protein crystals are grown using a vapor diffusion process, such as the hanging or sitting drop methods. However, salt crystals are often commonly found alongside the protein crystals.
Currently, the standard technique is to cause the protein crystals to fluoresce and to image them. Since the salt crystals do not fluoresce, only the protein crystals will be imaged. However, the fluorescent intensity is very weak and the exposure to high energy UV light for extended periods of time can cause the protein crystals to denature.
CRAIC Technologies has developed UV range microspectrophotometers that can rapidly differentiate the protein crystals from the salt crystals. The QDI 2010™ UV microspectrophotometer, for example, is fast, highly accurate and provides much more information about the crystal other than just the fact that it is made up of protein.
UV microspectrophotometers, such as the QDI 2010™ from CRAIC Technologies, Inc., are able to rapidly differentiate protein from salt crystals by both absorbance and fluorescence spectroscopy. More importantly, they can also take the next step to qualify the crystal once it has been located and identified. The procedure is simple: a spectrum is acquired of a microscopic crystal. If it is salt, it will not absorb light at 280 nm. However, the protein does exhibit a strong absorbance peak near that wavelength. From the spectra, the concentration of the protein in the crystal can be determined or even if the crystal is contaminated. Due to the inherent flexibility of microspectrophotometers, the crystals may be both imaged and microspectra™ acquired of crystals as small as a micron. Able to operate in the visible and NIR regions, in addition to the ultraviolet, these systems can do much more than just locating crystals. The ability to use microspectra™ to rigorously qualify the crystal can save valuable time by only selecting viable crystals for the next step of a procedure.
For more information about the QDI 2010™ Microspectrophotometer and protein crystal analysis by UV microspectroscopy, please visit www.microspectra.com.
About CRAIC Technologies
CRAIC Technologies, Inc. is a global technology leader focused on developing technology and methodologies for UV-visible-NIR microscopy and microspectroscopy. CRAIC Technologies creates innovative solutions, along with the very best in customer support, by listening to our customers and implementing developments that integrate operational excellence and technologic expertise. CRAIC Technologies provides solutions for customers in the forensic sciences, biology, health sciences, semiconductor, geology, nanotechnology and materials science markets whose applications demand accuracy, precision, speed and the best in expert customer support.
Source: CRAIC Technologies (press release)
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