How does Ethanol Dissolve the Plasma Membrane?

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How does Ethanol Dissolve the Plasma Membrane?

Post by Procrastinate » Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:01 am

I have been researching all over the net, but somehow I have just become more confused. So, I just want someone to clarify for me why ethanol dissolves the plasma membrane.

I know the proteins aren't affected - primarily just the lipid bilayer. I think it has something to do with interactions with the hydrophobic layer but the hydrophobic layer is sandwiched in the middle...I also found out that ethanol breaks the hydrogen bonds in the water and disrupts the osmotic environment, but how does that affect cell membrane permeability?

I am conducting an experiment on beetroot, but that is probably not relevant to how ethanol dissolves the plasma membrane.

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Inland Taipan
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Post by JackBean » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:19 am

EtOH is kind of amphipatic, it is both hydrophilic (OH) and hydrophobic (CH3).

It CAN form H-bonds (with water or with anything else), although only one contrary to water ;)

Cis or trans? That's what matters.

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