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(C14H22O(C2H4O)n) is a nonionic surfactant that has a hydrophilic polyethylene oxide chain (on average it has 9.5 ethylene oxide units) and an aromatichydrocarbon 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 erstwhileNonidet P-40, which might differ from it mainly in having slightly shorter ethylene oxide units. 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. 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. Triton X detergents are distantly related to Pluronic range of detergents marketed by BASF. The pluronics are triblock copolymers of ethylene oxide and propylene oxidewith the ethylene oxide segments being more hydrophilic than the propylene oxide.
Triton X-100 is a commonly used detergent in laboratories. Triton X-100 is widely used to lyse cells to extract protein or organelles, or to permeabilize the membranes of living cells.