The following facts have been established experimentally.
1. In the presence of the synthetic detergent, Duponol PC, there is a definite reaction between dilute ferricyanide and denatured egg albumin. 0.001 mM of ferrocyanide is formed by the oxidation of 10 mg. of denatured egg albumin despite considerable variation in the time, temperature, and pH of the reaction and in the concentration of ferricyanide.
2. If the concentration of ferricyanide is sufficiently high, then the reaction between ferricyanide and denatured egg albumin in Duponol solution is indefinite. More ferrocyanide is formed the longer the time of reaction, the higher the temperature, the more alkaline the solution, and the higher the concentration of ferricyanide.
3. Denatured egg albumin which has been treated with formaldehyde or iodoacetamide, both of which abolish the SH groups of cysteine, does not reduce dilute ferricyanide in Duponol PC solution.
4. Cysteine is the only amino acid which is known to have a definite reaction with ferricyanide or which is known to react with dilute ferricyanide at all. The cysteine-free proteins which have been tried do not reduce dilute ferricyanide in Duponol PC solution.
5. Concentrated ferricyanide oxidizes cystine, tyrosine, and tryptophane and proteins which contain these amino acids but not cysteine. The reactions are indefinite, more ferrocyanide being formed, the higher the temperature and the concentration of ferricyanide.
6. The amount of ferrocyanide formed from denatured egg albumin and a given amount of ferricyanide is less in the absence than in the presence of Duponol PC.
7. The amount of ferrocyanide formed when denatured egg albumin reacts with ferricyanide in the absence of Duponol PC depends on the temperature and ferricyanide concentration throughout the whole range of ferricyanide concentrations, even in the low range of ferricyanide concentrations in which ferricyanide does not react with amino adds other than cysteine.
The foregoing results have led to the following conclusions which, however, have not been definitely proven.
1. The definite reaction between denatured egg albumin in Duponol PC solution and dilute ferricyanide is a reaction with SH groups whereas the indefinite reactions with concentrated ferricyanide involve other groups.
2. The SH groups of denatured egg albumin in the absence of Duponol PC react with iodoacetamide and concentrated ferricyanide but they do not all react rapidly with dilute ferricyanide.
3. Duponol PC lowers the ferricyanide concentration at which the SH groups of denatured egg albumin react with ferricyanide. The SH groups of denatured egg albumin, however, are free and accessible even in the absence of Duponol PC.