Dielectirc relaxation of DNA in aqueous solutions

Masanori Sakamoto, Hirohsi Kanda, Reinosuke Hayakawa, Yasaku Wada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Using a four‐electrode cell and a new electronic system for direct detection of the frequency differences specturm of solution impedance, the complex dielectric constant of calf thymus DNA (Mr = 4 × 106) in aqueous NaCl at 10°C is measured at frequencies ranging from 0.2 Hz to 30 kHz. The DNA concentrations are Cp = 0.01% and 0.05%, and the NaCl concentrations are varied from Cs = 10−4 M to 10−3 M. A single relaxation regions is found in this frequency range, the relaxation frequency being 10 Hz at Cp = 0.01% and Cs = 10−3 M. At Cp = 0.05% it is evidenced that the DNA chains have appreciable intermolecular interactions. The dielectric relaxaton time τd at Cp = 0.01% agrees well with the rotational relaxation time estimated from the reduced visocisty on the assumption that the DNA is not representable as a rigid rod but a coiled chain. It is concluded that the dielectric relaxiatioinis ascribed to the rotation of the molecule. Observed values of dielectric increment and other experimental findings are reasonably explained by assuming that the dipole moment of DNA results from the slow counterion fluctuation which has a longer relaxation time than τd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-892
Number of pages14
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1976


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