Characteristics and uses of DMSO

What is DMSO?

DMSO ( Dimethyl sulfoxide ) is an organic liquid since it is obtained from trees. One of its main characteristics is that it is a colorless liquid and that it is aprotic, that is, it is a type of solvent that does not give or accept protons. DMSO is an organic liquid with rapid penetration.

What are the characteristics of DMSO?

DMSO has several factors that help it distinguish itself from other chemical compounds that may be similar to it or have a similar function or even use. Therefore, DMSO is distinguished by the following points:

    • Its chemical formula is (CH₃) 2SO . Its molecule has a pyramidal shape with atoms of sulfur, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen

DMSO formula

  • DMSO is characterized by being an organic liquid soluble in water and miscible with ethanol, acetone, benzene and numerous organic solvents with the exception of some hydrocarbons.
  • It is a clear, colorless and odorless liquid.
  • Solidification point: below 18 ° C. Melting point: 18 ° C. Flash point: 95 ° C. Boiling point: 189 ° C. Auto-ignition temperature: 270 ° C.
  • DMSO can be absorbed through skin penetration , ingestion or even inhalation of the aerosol.

What are the main uses of DMSO?

Due to its characteristics, DMSO is used for various purposes. Among many others we find it:

  • As a solvent : DMSO is often used as a solvent for chemical reactions involving salts. It is also used as an extractant in biochemistry Y cell biology . Additionally, DMSO is increasingly being used in manufacturing processes to produce microelectronic devices . Another of its areas of use is bio -preservation, especially in stem cell banks. Finally, DMSO is an effective paint stripper , being safer than many others, such as nitromethane (CH₃NO₂) and dichloromethane (CH 2 Cl 2 ).
  • In the veterinary field: DMSO is commonly used in veterinary medicine as horse liniment for the treatment of increased intracranial pressure and / or cerebral edema. It can be used alone or with other ingredients customizing the intended function of DMSO is that of a solvent, to transport the other ingredients through the skin.
  • In the field of biology: DMSO is used in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to inhibit secondary structures in the DNA template or DNA primers. It is added to the PCR mix before reacting. DMSO can also be used as a cryoprotective , added to cell support to reduce ice formation and thus prevent cell death during the freezing process. Finally, in cell culture, DMSO is used to induce cell differentiation of P19 embryonic carcinoma into cardiomyocytes and skeletal muscle cells.

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