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Properties and uses of DMSO

What is DMSO?

The DMSO ( dimethyl sulfoxide ) is an organic liquid as it is derived from trees. One of its main characteristics is that it is a colorless liquid and that it is aprotic, which means it is a type of solvent that does not give or accept protons. The DMSO It is a fast penetrating organic liquid.

What are the characteristics of DMSO?

DMSO has several factors that help differentiate it from other chemical compounds that may be similar to it or have a similar function or even use. Thus, DMSO differs in 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

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

What are the main uses of DMSO?

Thanks to its properties, the DMSO can be used for different purposes. Among many others we find it:

  • As a solvent : DMSO is commonly used as a solvent for chemical reactions that involve salts. It is also used as an extractant in biochemistry Y. Cell Biology . In addition, DMSO is increasingly used in manufacturing processes to manufacture microelectronic devices . Another area of application is biopreservation , particularly in stem cell banks. Finally, DMSO is an effective paint stripper , safer than many others, such as nitromethane (CH₃NO₂) and dichloromethane (CH 2 Cl 2 ).
  • In the veterinary field: The DMSO is commonly used in veterinary medicine as horse liniment to treat increased intracranial pressure and/or cerebral edema. Can be used alone or with other ingredients to adapt DMSO’s intended function as a solvent to transport the other ingredients through the skin.
  • In the field of biology: The DMSO it is used in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to inhibit secondary structures in the DNA template or DNA primers. It is added to the PCR mix before the reaction. DMSO can also be used as a cryoprotectant , added to cell media 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 embryonic P19 carcinoma into cardiomyocytes and skeletal muscle cells.
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