Tween®20 is a polyoxyethylene sorbitol ester that belongs to the polysorbate family. It is a nonionic detergent having a molecular weight of 1,225 daltons, assuming 20 ethylene oxide units, 1 sorbitol, and 1 lauric acid as the primary fatty acid. The ethylene oxide subunits are responsible for the hydrophilic nature of the surfactant, while the hydrocarbon chains provide the hydrophobic environment. Sorbitol forms the backbone ring to which the ethylene oxide polymers are attached.
TWEEN 20 is widely used in biochemical applications. It has been used:
- As an emulsifying agent for the preparation of stable oil-in-water emulsions
- In pre-extraction of membranes to remove peripheral proteins (used at 2% for extraction of membrane-bound proteins)
- As a blocking agent for membrane based immunoassays at a typical concentration of 0.05%
- For lysing mammalian cells at a concentration of 0.005 to 0.5%
- Along with PBS in the dilution of antibodies in immunohistochemistry technique
- For washing cells in FISH (Fluorescence in situ hybridization) technique
50, 100 mL in poly bottle
TWEEN 20 may not be stable to autoclaving, particularly with metal cations in buffer solutions. Autoclaving is not recommended without testing for changes in properties. TWEEN 20 is heat sensitive and will darken when exposed to elevated temperatures. Polysorbates have been reported to be incompatible with alkalis, heavy metal salts, phenols, and tannic acid. They may also reduce the activity of many preservatives. Aqueous solutions of polysorbates undergo autoxidation during storage, with changes being catalyzed by light, increased temperature, and copper sulfate.
TWEEN 20 is miscible in water (100mg/mL), yielding a clear, yellow solution. It is also miscible with alcohol, dioxane, and ethyl acetate. TWEEN 20 is insoluble in liquid paraffin and fixed oils.
TWEEN is a registered trademark of Croda International PLC