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Chemosphere. 2014 Jan;95:206-12. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.08.069. Epub 2013 Sep 15.

The protective effect of clay minerals against damage to adsorbed DNA induced by cadmium and mercury.

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College of Environment and Energy, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510006, China.


The adsorption of Salmon Sperm DNA on three kinds of raw clay (rectorite, montmorillonite and sericite) was investigated as a function of pH, ionic strength and the concentrations of DNA and phosphate ions in solution. The DNA adsorption was reduced in the following order: rectorite>montmorillonite>sericite. Based on these findings, there is a strong evidence that the mechanisms for DNA adsorption on clay involve electrostatic forces, cation bridging and ligand exchange. Cyclic voltammetry (CV) and UV-vis absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy were used to compare the properties of unbound DNA and the absorbed DNA on rectorite, both in the absence and presence of Cd(2+) and Hg(2+) inaqueous solutions. The interaction of heavy metals with the unbound DNA was evidenced by the disappearance of reduction peaks in CV, a small bathochromic shift in UV-vis spectroscopy and an incomplete quenching in the emission spectra. Such changes were not observed in the DNA-rectorite hybrids, which is evidence that adsorption on the clay can reduce the extent of the DNA damage caused by heavy metals. Therefore, in these experience the rectorite played an important role in protecting DNA against Cd(2+) and Hg(2+) induced damage.


Adsorption mechanism; Clay; DNA adsorption; Heavy metal; Protection

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