The electrical capacity of the membrane of rat liver mitochondria is 0.5 to 0.6 µ./cm2. This membrane capacity is obtained from the analysis of the frequency dependence of the admittance of a suspension of swollen mitochondria.
In potassium chloride media the mitochondrial membrane capacity does not depend on the ion concentration.
The internal conductance of the mitochondria was approximately one-half that of the external medium; the same applies if the mitochondria are equilibrated in a medium with a 10-fold difference in potassium chloride concentration. Hence the swollen mitochondria investigated here appear to be able to adjust their internal ion concentration in proportion with that of the external phase.
The similarity of the membrane capacity of isolated mitochondria with the range of values known for other membranes suggests a common molecular structure.
The analysis of experimental data suggests an anisotropic electrical behavior of the interior of mitochondria. This anisotropy is readily explained by the existence of internal membranes.