Answer to Question #147973 in Biochemistry for Ali cnd

Question #147973
What kind of chemicals or factors can be used to break the intermolecular forces and disulfide bonds?
Expert's answer

Assuming that you are refering to intermolecular forces and disulfide bonds in proteins;

70% alcohol solution, heavy metal salts, and reducing agents do disrupt hydrogen bonds and disulfide bonds.

How they work:

(a) 70% alcohol solution can penetrate bacterial cell walls and denature proteins and enzymes in the cells. The reason it is prefered for use as a disinfectant. It works by disrupting hydrogen bonds between amide groups (in secondary proteins), and between side chains (in tertially proteins).

(b) Heavy metals salts disrupt disulfide bonds due to their high affinity and attraction to sulfur. They also denature proteins.

(c) Reducing agents disrupt disulfide bond because such bods were formed by oxidation of the sulfhydryl groups on the amino acid Cysteine. Reducing agents can therefore act on disulfide bonds to split them apart.

NB: I have ignored the reaction mechanisms because of their complexity.

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