Cell Rupture: Detergents vs Traditional Physical Methods
Detergents (or surfactants) are used in cell lysis solutions because they disrupt the distinct interface between hydrophobic and hydrophilic systems. They help to solubilize membrane proteins and lipids, thereby causing the cell to lyse and release its contents. Detergents are comprised of a polar hydrophilic head group and a nonpolar hydrophobic tail. They are categorized by the nature of the head group as either ionic, nonionic or zwitterionic.