Bleach and DNA

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Rachelle Courtright, Apr 29, 2017.

  1. Rachelle Courtright Registered Member

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    So I am in a group in my Biotech class and we have to come up with an business venture related to the field to pitch to investors.
    I was thinking what is it in bleach that destroys DNA, and is it possible to develop and additive or eliminate an ingredient that could preserve the DNA?
     
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Depends on the bleach, I think. It may be release of oxygen or hypochlorite. Bleach typically reacts with double bonds to change the frequency at which coloured species absorb light so as to move it out of the visible portion of the spectrum. How exactly this would be manifest in reactions with DNA I am unsure, but there are plenty of groups in DNA that would be attacked.

    I cannot immediately think of something that would prevent these reactions that would not also prevent the material from acting as a bleach.
     
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I'm most emphatically a layman regarding this, but my first question would be - what kind of 'bleach' are we talking about? My understanding is that 'bleaching' refers to lightening/whitening stains on fabrics and other materials, and a number of different compounds are used to do this.

    I guess that the most common kind of bleach is a dilute sodium hypochlorite solution. This has strong anti-microbial properties as well as stain-lightening properties, and is often used as a disinfectant.

    But my impression (which might be wrong) is that it works by damaging bacterial cell walls and then by congealing the proteins in the bacterium, like the fluid in an egg turning white and solid when it's boiled. (Bacteria don't like it when that happens.)

    I don't know what effect sodium hypochlorite has on DNA specifically. (The internet being what it is, I expect that information is out there.)
     
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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