The relative permittivity and conductivity of aqueous solutions of oxyhaemoglobin and carboxyhaemoglobin were measured over the frequency range 150kHz–100MHz. To minimize errors of measurement the investigations were carried out with three different samples of each type of haemoglobin, independent apparatus being used in two different laboratories. The dielectric increment and relaxation time were calculated at each of several temperatures from the results. These lead to a dipole moment of 400 Debyes and an activation enthalpy of 17.6±1.4kJ·mol−1, both of which were found to be independent of temperature to within experimental error over the range 3–35°C. The value of the dipole moment shows that the distribution of charge throughout the haemoglobin molecule is nearly symmetrical with respect to the centre of charge. The magnitude of the activation enthalpy is similar to that of the viscosity of water, in accord with the common observation that dielectric relaxation and viscosity are related phenomena. No significant differences are found between the dielectric parameters of oxyhaemoglobin and carboxyhaemoglobin. Combining the results with those obtained from X-ray diffraction of the solid a hydration value of 0.45g of water/g of protein is suggested, subject to the limitations of the model used. Finally, the results indicate the presence of a subsidiary dispersion, which could be attributed to the above quantity of bound water having a static permittivity of about 100 and a relaxation frequency in the region 100–200MHz.

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