This investigation was conducted to validate the use of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) as a quantitative molecular probe for the generation of hydroxyl radicals (HO) in aqueous systems. Reaction of HO with DMSO produces methane sulfinic acid as a primary product, which can be detected by a simple calorimetric assay. To evaluate this method for estimating total HO production, we studied three model systems, including the Fenton reaction,  irradiation of water, and ultraviolet photolysis of hydrogen peroxide, for which the theoretical maximum yield of HO could be calculated and compared to measured DMSO oxidation. The results confirm that 0.05 to 1 M DMSO may be used to capture nearly all of the expected HO radicals formed. Thus, methane sulfinic acid production from DMSO holds promise as an easily measured marker for HO formation in aqueous systems pretreated with DMSO.


This is the author accepted manuscript version of Steiner, M.G. and Babbs, C.F., Quantitation of the hydroxyl radical by reaction with dimethyl sulfoxide, Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 278, 478-481, 1990. Copyright Elsevier, it is made available here CC-BY-NC-ND, and the version of record can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0003-9861(90)90288-A.

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