Towards a definition of X-ray crystal quality.

Dominique Maes, Christine Evrard, Jose Gavira, Mike Sleutel, Cécile Van De Weerdt, Fermin Otalora, Juan Ma Garcia-Ruiz, Grégoire Nicolis, J.a. Martial, Klaas Decanniere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Crystal X-ray quality is usually evaluated by looking at data quality parameters such as (relative) Wilson B-factor,
resolution, R-factors, signal-to-noise ratio, and others. As these parameters are correlated, most studies focus on one or two of them.
As part of a study of the effects of microgravity on X-ray quality, full data sets of 35 ferritin crystals (17 PromISS-4 "space"
crystals and 18 from the ground control) were collected. Sixty-three parameters commonly used as indicative of X-ray data quality taken from the output of the processing, scaling, and merging software packages were analyzed. This highly dimensional "quality parameter dataset" was reduced using a principal component analysis. About 78% of the variability in the data set could be explained with the first four principal components. A score-plot in this four-dimensional space clearly showed two tendencies, one for the crystals grown in space and one for the ground crystals. The differences between the two groups are observed irrespective of the software package. They can be attributed to the first principal component and reflect the superior quality of the space crystals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4284-4290
Number of pages7
JournalCrystal Growth and Design
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • crystal quality
  • X-ray diffraction
  • biological macromolecules
  • microgravity


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