Triton X-100

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Triton X-100
Triton X-100.png
Other names
  • Polyethylene glycol p-(1,1,3,3-tetramethylbutyl)-phenyl ether
  • Octyl phenol ethoxylate
  • Polyoxyethylene octyl phenyl ether
  • 4-Octylphenol polyethoxylate
  • Mono 30
  • TX-100
  • t-Octylphenoxypolyethoxyethanol
  • Octoxynol-9
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.123.919
n (n = 9-10)
Molar mass 647 g mol−1
Appearance viscous colourless liquid
Density 1.07 g/cm3
Melting point 6 °C (43 °F; 279 K)
Boiling point 270 °C (518 °F; 543 K)
Vapor pressure < 1 mmHg (130 Pa) at 20 °C
Safety data sheet MSDS
Flash point 251 °C (484 °F; 524 K)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Triton X-100 (C
n) is a nonionic surfactant that has a hydrophilic polyethylene oxide chain (on average it has 9.5 ethylene oxide units) and an aromatic hydrocarbon lipophilic or hydrophobic group. The hydrocarbon group is a 4-(1,1,3,3-tetramethylbutyl)-phenyl group. It is closely related to IGEPAL CA-630 or former Nonidet P-40, which might differ from it mainly in having slightly shorter ethylene oxide chains. Thus Triton X-100 is slightly more hydrophilic than Igepal CA-630; these two detergents may not be considered to be functionally interchangeable for most applications.[2] Triton X-100 was originally a registered trademark of Rohm & Haas Co. It was subsequently purchased by Union Carbide and then acquired by Dow Chemical Company upon the acquisition of Union Carbide. Soon afterward (in 2009), Dow also acquired Rohm & Haas Co. Other trademarks for very similar compounds include Conco NI, Dowfax 9N, Igepal CO, Makon, Neutronyx 600's, Nonipol NO, Plytergent B, Renex 600's, Solar NO, Sterox, Serfonic N, T-DET-N, Tergitol NP, Triton N, etc.[3]

Triton X detergents are distantly related to Pluronic range of detergents marketed by BASF. The pluronics are triblock copolymers of ethylene oxide and propylene oxide with the ethylene oxide segments being more hydrophilic than the propylene oxide.

Physical properties[edit]

Undiluted Triton X-100 is a clear viscous fluid (less viscous than undiluted glycerol) owing to the hydrogen bonding of its hydrophilic polyethylene oxide parts. Undiluted Triton X-100 has a viscosity of about 270 centipoise at 25 °C which comes down to about 80 centipoise at 50 °C. Triton X-100 is soluble at 25 °C in water, toluene, xylene, trichloroethylene, ethylene glycol, ethyl ether, ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and ethylene dichloride, but unless a coupling agent like oleic acid is used, Triton X-100 is insoluble in kerosene, mineral spirits, and naphtha.[4]


Triton X-100 is a commonly used detergent in laboratories.[5] Triton X-100 is widely used to lyse cells to extract protein or organelles, or to permeabilize the membranes of living cells.[6]

Some applications include:

  • Industrial purpose (plating of metal)
  • Ingredient in influenza vaccines, including Fluzone
  • Permeabilizing unfixed (or lightly fixed) eukaryotic cell membranes[6]
  • Solubilizing membrane proteins in their native state in conjunction with zwitterionic detergents such as CHAPS
  • Part of the lysis buffer (usually in a 5% solution in alkaline lysis buffer) in DNA extraction
  • Reducing surface tension of aqueous solutions during immunostaining (usually at a concentration of 0.1-0.5% in TBS or PBS Buffer)
  • Dispersion of carbon materials for soft composite materials
  • Restricting colony expansion in Aspergillus nidulans in microbiology
  • Decellularization of animal-derived tissues
  • Removing SDS from SDS-PAGE gels prior to renaturing the proteins within the gel
  • Disruption of cell monolayers as a positive control for TEER measurements
  • Micellar catalyst

Apart from laboratory use, Triton X-100 can be found in several types of cleaning compounds,[7] ranging from heavy-duty industrial products to gentle detergents. It is also a popular ingredient in homemade vinyl record cleaning fluids together with distilled water and isopropyl alcohol.[8]


  1. ^ "Triton® X-100 - non-ionic detergent". Sigma-Aldrich. Archived from the original on February 24, 2016. Retrieved Dec 13, 2018 – via WebCite®.
  2. ^ "Sigma Product Information Sheet: Triton X-100™" (PDF). Sigma-Aldrich, Inc. 2002. Retrieved Dec 13, 2018.
  3. ^ "Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl),a-sulfo-w-(4-nonylphenoxy)-, ammonium salt(1:1)".
  4. ^ "TRITON Nonionic Surfactant X-100". Shun Chia Industrial Company Ltd. Archived from the original (DOC) on March 4, 2017. Retrieved Dec 13, 2018.
  5. ^ Johnson, M (2018). "Detergents: Triton X-100, Tween-20, and More". Materials and Methods. 3: 163–72. doi:10.13070/mm.en.3.163. ISSN 2329-5139.
  6. ^ a b Koley D, Bard AJ (2010). "Triton X-100 concentration effects on membrane permeability of a single HeLa cell by scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM)". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 107 (39): 16783–7. doi:10.1073/pnas.1011614107. PMC 2947864. PMID 20837548.
  7. ^ "DOW Surfactants: Octylphenol Ethoxylates". The Dow Chemical Company. Retrieved Dec 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Gales, F (2009). "DIY Record Cleaning Machine With Bonus DIY Cleaning Fluid Formulas". Enjoy the Retrieved Dec 13, 2018.

External links[edit]