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Tween 20 is a frequently used member of the polysorbate family of detergents. Tween is a trademarked name for a series of non-ionic surfactants derived from
sorbitan esters, known as polysorbate surfactants.
The choice of
Tween 20 vs. Tween 80 is based on historical best use
practices, as both detergents have been used extensively for a number of years.
In the case of novel protein extractions, a number of surfactants may be tried
for optimal solubilization. Tween 20 may work best for some proteins, while
Tween 80 may work best for others.
Autoclaving is not
recommended. Tween 20 is heat sensitive and will darken
when exposed to elevated temperatures.
Tween 20 is particularly unstable in the presence of metal ions in buffer
solutions. Polysorbates, including Tween 20, have been
reported to be incompatible with alkalis, heavy metal salts, phenols and tannic
acids. Tween 20 may reduce the activity of many preservatives.