nonionic detergentmedical dictionary

<chemistry> Detergent in which the hydrophilic head group is uncharged. In practice hydrophilicity is usually conferred by OH groups.

Examples are the polyoxyethylene p t octyl phenols known as Tritons and octyl glucoside. Nonionic detergents can be used to solubilise intrinsic membrane proteins with less tendency to denature them than charged detergents. They do not usually cause disassembly of structures such as microfilaments and microtubules that depend on protein protein interactions.

This entry appears with permission from the Dictionary of Cell and Molecular Biology

(11 Mar 2008)