Tweens® are a series of nonionic surfactants derived from sorbitan esters. They are soluble or dispersible in water but differ widely in organic and oil solubilities. Used as oil-in-water emulsifiers in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, cleaning compounds, etc.
Tween® 80 has been widely used in biochemical applications including: solubilizing proteins, isolating nuclei from cells in culture selective protein extraction growing of tubercule bacilli , and emulsifying and dispersing substances in medicinal and food products. It has little or no activity as an anti-bacterial agent. It has been shown to have an adverse effect on the antibacterial effect of methyl paraben and related compounds. Non-ionic detergent used for selective protein extraction and isolation of nuclei from mammalian cell lines.