Encyclopedia of Applied Electrochemistry

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerhard Kreysa, Ken-ichiro Ota, Robert F. Savinell

Ions at Biological Interfaces

  • Pavel Jungwirth
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-6996-5_441

Historical Overview

The effects of salt ions on the behavior of biomolecules in solutions, such as salting out of proteins, has been traditionally ascribed to ion–water interactions in the aqueous bulk [1]. The ion-specific behavior, expressed, e.g., in the famous Hofmeister series [2, 3], has been then rationalized by classifying ions as either kosmotropes (“structure makers”) or chaotropes (“structure breakers”) according to their ability to structure water molecules around themselves [4]. According to this picture, cosmotropes, but not chaotropes, organize layers of water molecules around themselves, thus effectively removing the solvent from proteins, which leads to salting out. There is, however, mounting experimental evidence that this picture is incomplete at best and that ions (at least monovalent ones) are not able to strongly affect more water molecules than their immediate hydration shells [5, 6, 7]. Alternative or additional explanations of salt action are, therefore,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Organic Chemistry and BiochemistryAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicPragueCzech Republic