Letter | Published:

Denaturation of Wool by Urea

Nature volume 127, pages 403404 (14 March 1931) | Download Citation



IN a letter to NATURE of Nov. 1, p. 685, I stated that saturated aqueous solutions of urea unmasked a sulphide in sheep's wool and also extracted a sulphide from the wool. These two statements were based on the observation that addition of a tenth volume of 20 per cent sodium nitroprusside solution, to suspensions of wool in such urea solutions, ten minutes after addition of a similar proportion of 10 per cent potassium cyanide solution (to reduce any —SS— to thiol groups), always led to the development, both in the wool and in the liquid, of a strong pink or magenta colour precisely like that of Arnold's nitroprusside reaction for organic thiol compounds, although in control tests wool not treated with urea developed only a feeble pink, and urea solutions which had not been in contact with wool developed none at all.

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  1. Department of Biochemistry, University of Liverpool, Feb. 13.

    • W. RAMSDEN


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