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dimethyl pyrocarbonate

DMPC is an acronym for di-methyl pyrocarbonate (AKA: dimethyl dicarbonate, pyrocarbonic acid dimethyl ester).


  • DMPC is typically used to treat water to remove RNases. It reacts with amine, hydroxy and thiol groups of proteins (such as RNAses) and inactivates RNAses.


  • You can buy DMPC for example at Sigma.


  • DMPC is a safer alternative to DEPC (known carcinogen). It is used in exactly the same way.
  • Treatment involves adding DMPC to 0.1% v/v and incubating at 37°C for 1 hour to overnight followed by autoclaving. Autoclaving destroys DMPC and is an essential step. Esters may be generated during autoclaving giving rise to a 'fruity' smell (that is not coming directly from DMPC).
  • Note that DMPC cannot be used with chemical solutions that have amine groups, such as Tris and HEPES buffers, or mercaptans. In such cases, use DMPC-treated water to generate the solution.


  • DMPC is a safer alternative to DEPC (known carcinogen).


  1. Handling RNA
  2. RNase and DEPC Treatment: Fact or Laboratory Myth