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Detergents Background

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Featured Detergent Products
Digitonin high purity detergent
Digitonin, High Purity- is a nonionic detergent commonly used to solubilize membrane-bound proteins. Digitonin is an ideal tool for membrane protein research, and has proven to be especially useful in the study of neurotransmitter receptors.
OmniPur sodium dodecyl sulfate
OmniPur® Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate- can be used to lyse cells during DNA extraction and to unfold proteins for SDS-PAGE. SDS denatures proteins by disrupting non-covalent bonds that maintain native conformation.
Below are highlights and summaries from the Essential Biochemicals for Research, which is a technical resource and product guide for scientists for the preparation and use of biochemicals such as antibiotics, buffers, detergents, dyes, stains, and substrates, which are indispensable for any life science research laboratory. To view the full content, please download or request a print copy of this resource.
Common Properties of Detergents
Critical Micelle Concentration (CMC)
The CMC can be defined as the lowest concentration above which monomers cluster to form micelles.

Kraft Point
The temperature at which all the three phases— crystalline, micellar, and monomeric—exist in equilibrium is known as as the Kraft Point.

Cloud Point
At a particular temperature above the CMT, nonionic detergents become cloudy and undergo phase separation to yield a detergent-rich layer and an aqueous layer.
Protocols for Using Detergents
Removal of Unbound Detergents
Excess detergent is normally used to solubilize membrane proteins. This is to ensure complete dissolution of the membrane and to provide a large number of micelles such that only one protein molecule is present per micelle. Some of the more commonly used methods for detergent removal are:
  • Hydrophobic Adsorption
  • Gel Chromatography
  • Centrifugal Ultrafiltration
  • Dialysis
  • Ion-Exchange Chromatography
Guidelines for Choosing a Detergent
In most cases, the biological activity of the protein should be preserved in the supernatant after detergent solubilization. Hence, the appropriate detergent should yield the maximum amount of biologically active protein in the supernatant. Some of the points outlined below can be helpful in selecting a suitable detergent.
  • Survey the literature
  • Consider the solubility of the detergent at the working temperature
  • Consider downstream applications
  • Consider method for detergent removal
  • Consider detergent purity