Abstract In this paper, protein crystal growth is studied by a Mach-Zehnder interferometer and an image process system. The interference fringe images are recorded during the crystallization of tetragonal hen egg white lysozyme crystal. Concentration distributions of the protein solution are given from the interference fringe images recorded by the Mach-Zehnder interferometer with a real time servo system of a four-step phase shift. The mass transfer flux and the crystal growth rates are obtained from the concentration distribution. The results show that the observed rates are in accordance with those demonstrated by measurements of the experimental images; therefore the method for determining growth rate by the diffusion process is reasonable.