Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Hofmeister’s curse

Understanding the effects of adding a simple salt to an aqueous solution of a protein is far from simple — and Bruce C. Gibb explains why.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Plot of the ionic standard partial molar volume of monovalent ions against their standard molar Gibbs free energy of hydration.


  1. 1.

    Kunz, W., Henle, J. & Ninham, B. W. Curr. Opin. Colloid Interface Sci. 9, 19–37 (2004).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Collins, K. D. & Washabaugh, M. W. Q. Rev. Biophys. 18, 323–422 (1985).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Hamaguchi, K. & Geiduschek, E. P. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 84, 1329–1338 (1962).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    van der Vegt, N. F. et al. Chem. Rev. 116, 7626–7641 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Hawkes, S. J. J. Chem. Educ. 73, 421–423 (1996).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Jungwirth, P. & Cremer, P. S. Nat. Chem. 6, 261–263 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    McPherson, A. & Gavira, J. A. Acta Crystallogr. F 70, 2–20 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Hyde, A. M. et al. Org. Process Res. Dev. 21, 1355–1370 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Sullivan, M. R., Yao, W., Tang, D., Ashbaugh, H. S. & Gibb, B. C. J. Phys. Chem. B 122, 1702–1713 (2018).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Paterová, J. et al. J. Phys. Chem. B 117, 8150–8158 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Zhang, Y. & Cremer, P. S. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 106, 15249–15253 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Marcus Y. Ion Properties 1st edn (Marcel Dekker, 1997).

  13. 13.

    Marcus Y. Ions in Solution and their Solvation (Wiley, 2015).

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Bruce C. Gibb.

Additional information

Twitter: @brucecgibb

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gibb, B.C. Hofmeister’s curse. Nat. Chem. 11, 963–965 (2019).

Download citation


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing