An alternative approach to the problem of too many crystals in a drop is reduce the number of nucleation events. This can be done by using an additive to
'poison' nucleation: ethanol and dioxane are often used as additives for
this purpose. Alternatively, the precipitant concentration can be
reduced after a time, so that there is initial nucleation period and
then a growth period in the metastable zone. Finally, the number of
sites for nucleation can be reduced using a 'containerless'
crystallisation method, such as that provided in our Gelled Surface
Crystallization™ kit. In this case the protein drop sits between gel and
oil removing the possibility of nucleation on the vessel wall.
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