Membranes were formed from oils containing unsaturated fatty acids. A small drop of linseed oil, placed on the surface of a solution of permanganate spreads rapidly. It then forms a thin layer, 10 to 15 cm. in diameter. The thickness may be constant, being then attested to by color interference phenomena uniform along the whole layer. The latter does not fragment itself into multiple droplets as is uaually the case with oil in contact with water. On the contrary, by the oxidizing effect of the permanganate solution, it dries as a layer of paint which is exposed to air. The spreading of the drop and the quality of the layer depends upon numerous conditions, among which are included addition to the droplets of a small quantity of aged linseed oil i.e. already partially oxidized which will make the layer more uniform addition of 1 to 5 of saturated acids will accelerate the spreading. The time necessary to achieve drying of the layer decreases with the acidity and the concentration of the permanganate solution. These layers thus formed by oxidation and polymerization are strong enough to separate two different aqueous phases, which permits study of their behavior as a model of the cell membrane. Author
Trans. of Journal de Physiologie (France) v56 p410-411 1964.