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Abstract

Thirty-one proteins and viruses that we knew from our own experience could be crystallized, or had been reported to have been crystallized by others, were investigated. In this experiment, each protein or virus was subjected to a crystallization screen of 12 different salts, each titrated to pH 7.2 beforehand, at concentrations ranging from 20% saturation to 90% saturation. Eight macromolecules failed to crystallize at all from any salt and were omitted from consideration. From the remaining 23 proteins, each salt was scored according to how many proteins and viruses it successfully crystallized. Among several results, one was particularly striking. Sodium malonate clearly was much more successful than any other salt, resulting in the crystallization of 19 of the 23 macromolecules, almost twice as effective as the next most successful salt, which was a draw between sodium acetate, sodium tartrate, sodium formate, and ammonium sulfate (11 of 22). The high success rate of sodium malonate in producing crystals was even more impressive when an overall unique success rate with individual macromolecules was considered.