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viscous liquid, suitable for cell culture

Polysorbate 20, Polyethylene glycol sorbitan monolaurate, Polyoxyethylenesorbitan monolaurate
CAS Number:
MDL number:

Quality Level






viscous liquid

mol wt



lauric acid, ≥40% (balance primarily myristic, palmoyic, and stearic acids)


cell culture | mammalian: suitable

refractive index

n20/D 1.468 (lit.)


0.06 mM (20-25°C)

transition temp

cloud point 76 °C


1.095 g/mL at 25 °C (lit.)
1.1 g/cm3 at 25 °C (lit.)





InChI key


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General description

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 has been used in staining buffer for in situ hybridization. It has also been used to prevent non-specific adsorption of proteins to coverslip during sample preparation for FRET (Förster resonance energy transfer) experiments.
TWEEN 20 is a nonionic detergent widely used in biochemical applications. It has been used as an emulsifying agent for the preparation of stable oil-in-water emulsions. TWEEN 20 has been used in pre-extraction of membranes to remove peripheral proteins (used at 2% for extraction of membrane-bound proteins).
TWEEN 20 has been used as a blocking agent for membrane based immunoassays at a typical concentration of 0.05%. TWEEN 20 can be used for lysing mammalian cells at a concentration of 0.005 to 0.5%.
Non-ionic detergent


4 L in poly bottle
100, 500 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.

Preparation Note

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.

Legal Information

TWEEN is a registered trademark of Croda International PLC

Storage Class Code

10 - Combustible liquids



Flash Point(F)

527.0 °F - Pensky-Martens closed cup

Flash Point(C)

275 °C - Pensky-Martens closed cup

Personal Protective Equipment

dust mask type N95 (US),Eyeshields,Gloves

Certificate of Analysis

Certificate of Origin

Adverse morphological development in embryonic zebrafish exposed to environmental concentrations of contaminants individually and in mixture.
Kinch CD, et al.
Aquatic Toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 175, 286-298 (2016)
Enoch Ming Wei Ng et al.
The Review of scientific instruments, 87(11), 115107-115107 (2016-12-03)
A method to measure the contact angle, which is indicative of wetting, using small liquid volumes dispensed directly on microplate wells is described and demonstrated. Experiments with enhanced green protein samples of volumes 4.4-6 μl showed no measured variance in...
Conformations of a metastable SH3 domain characterized by smFRET and an excluded-volume polymer model.
Mazouchi A, et al.
Biophysical Journal, 110(7), 1510-1522 (2016)
Jeffrey Wimsatt et al.
BMC cancer, 16(1), 942-942 (2016-12-09)
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths for both men and women, and the third most common cause of cancer in the U.S. Toxicity of current chemotherapeutic agents for colorectal cancer, and emergence of drug resistance...
Erinna F Lee et al.
Autophagy, 15(5), 785-795 (2019-01-11)
BECN1/Beclin 1 is a critical protein in the initiation of autophagosome formation. Recent studies have shown that phosphorylation of BECN1 by STK4/MST1 at threonine 108 (T108) within its BH3 domain blocks macroautophagy/autophagy by increasing BECN1 affinity for its negative regulators...


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