1. Colloids have been divided into two groups according to the ease with which their solutions or suspensions are precipitated by electrolytes. One group (hydrophilic colloids), e.g., solutions of gelatin or crystalline egg albumin in water, requires high concentrations of electrolytes for this purpose, while the other group (hydrophobic colloids) requires low concentrations. In the latter group the precipitating ion of the salt has the opposite sign of charge as the colloidal particle (Hardy's rule), while no such relation exists in the precipitation of colloids of the first group.
2. The influence of electrolytes on the solubility of solid Na caseinate, which belongs to the first group (hydrophilic colloids), and of solid casein chloride which belongs to the second group (hydrophobic colloids), was investigated and it was found that the forces determining the solution are entirely different in the two cases. The forces which cause the hydrophobic casein chloride to go into solution are forces regulated by the Donnan equilibrium; namely, the swelling of particles. As soon as the swelling of a solid particle of casein chloride exceeds a certain limit it is dissolved. The forces which cause the hydrophilic Na caseinate to go into solution are of a different character and may be those of residual valency. Swelling plays no rôle in this case, and the solubility of Na caseinate is not regulated by the Donnan equilibrium.
3. The stability of solutions of casein chloride (requiring low concentrations of electrolytes for precipitation) is due, first, to the osmotic pressure generated through the Donnan equilibrium between the casein ions tending to form an aggregate, whereby the protein ions of the nascent micellum are forced apart again; and second, to the potential difference between the surface of a micellum and the surrounding solution (also regulated by the Donnan equilibrium) which prevents the further coalescence of micella already formed. This latter consequence of the Donnan effect had already been suggested by J. A. Wilson.
4. The precipitation of this group of hydrophobic colloids by salts is due to the diminution or annihilation of the osmotic pressure and the P.D. just discussed. Since low concentrations of electrolytes suffice for the depression of the swelling and P.D. of the micella, it is clear why low concentrations of electrolytes suffice for the precipitation of hydrophobic colloids, such as casein chloride.
5. This also explains why only that ion of the precipitating salt is active in the precipitation of hydrophobic colloids which has the opposite sign of charge as the colloidal ion, since this is always the case in the Donnan effect. Hardy's rule is, therefore, at least in the precipitation of casein chloride, only a consequence of the Donnan effect.
6. For the salting out of hydrophilic colloids, like gelatin, from watery solution, sulfates are more efficient than chlorides regardless of the pH of the gelatin solution. Solution experiments lead to the result that while CaCl2 or NaCl increase the solubility of isoelectric gelatin in water, and the more, the higher the concentration of the salt, Na2SO4 increases the solubility of isoelectric gelatin in low concentrations, but when the concentration of Na2SO4 exceeds M/32 it diminishes the solubility of isoelectric gelatin the more, the higher the concentration. The reason for this difference in the action of the two salts is not yet clear.
7. There is neither any necessity nor any room for the assumption that the precipitation of proteins is due to the adsorption of the ions of the precipitating salt by the colloid.