Please share experiences of using DEPC reated water?

Rimas Rimantas.Plaipa at
Wed Mar 14 13:02:22 EST 2001

"David F. Spencer" wrote:
> Although DEPC is considered to be unstable in water solution it does
> persist at low levels. I DEPC-treated one of my stocks of BLOTTO years
> ago, immediately after placed it at 65C for considerable time to try to
> break down the DEPC, and the solution still has that sweet DEPC smell
> when you take off the cap and sniff it. And this has been sitting in a
> solution of 5% skim milk powder! People who don't see negative effects
> of working with DEPC-treated water may be saved by using Tris (or
> similar chemicals) which react with DEPC and so scavenge the residual
> DEPC from the original water.

No, DEPC doesn't persist. The smell which remains in DEPC treated
solutions belongs to diethylcarbonate (DEC) which is present in small
amount in commercial DEPC and also may accumulate during storage due to
spontaneous degradation of DEPC (decarboxylation). DEC is pretty inert
and therefore should not ihibit enzymes (well, theoretically).

Rimantas Plaipa,

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics,
Vilnius University,
Ciurlionio 21/27, Vilnius 2009, Lithuania.

E-mail: rp010gf at
Phone: (370-2)-650381 
Fax: (370-2)-235049


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