Reducing cryoEM file storage using lossy image formats

J Struct Biol. 2019 Jul 1;207(1):49-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2019.04.013. Epub 2019 May 21.


Recent advances in instrumentation and software for cryoEM have increased the applicability and utility of this method. High levels of automation and faster data acquisition rates require hard decisions to be made regarding data retention. Here we investigate the efficacy of data compression applied to aligned summed movie files. Surprisingly, these images can be compressed using a standard lossy method that reduces file storage by 90-95% and yet can still be processed to provide sub-2 Å reconstructed maps. We do not advocate this as an archival method, but it may provide a useful means for retaining images as an historical record, especially at large facilities.

Keywords: Cryo electron microscopy (cryoEM); Data archiving; File format; Image data; Structural biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Automation
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy / methods*
  • Data Compression / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Information Storage and Retrieval*
  • Software