L-Histidine capped iron oxide nanoparticles (HCIO) have been synthesized in one pot in the presence of L-histidine. The final product was analyzed for composition, microstructure, ac-dc conductivity performance as well as dielectric permittivity. Results revealed that magnetic nanoparticles are maghemite (or magnetite) and L-histidine is covalently bonded to the nanoparticle surface via carboxyl groups. Thermal analysis revealed that magnetic nanoparticles showed catalytic effect that caused an early degradation/decomposition of the L-histidine capping. Near spherical morphology was assessed by TEM and particle size calculated from TEM analysis and crystallite size calculated from XRD analysis reveal single crystalline nature of iron oxide NPs. Magnetic measurements reveal the superparamagnetic character of the nanoparticles, hence the nanocomposite. The ac conductivity showed a temperature-dependent behavior at low frequencies and temperature independent behavior at high frequencies which is an indication of ionic conductivity. The dc conductivity of the nanocomposites is found to obey the Arrhenius plot with activation energy of 0.934 eV. Analysis of electrical modulus and dielectric permittivity functions suggest that ionic and polymer segmental motions are strongly coupled in the nanocomposite. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.