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What effect do ethanol, detergent and ph have on the cell membranes?


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  • Ethanol is permeable to cell membranes, so it enters easily. this disrupts the osmotic environment of the cell. ethanol also forms hydrogen bonds with water, which disrupts interactions with hydrophilic regions of the membrane.

  • The membrane is made of phospholipids which are a type of lipid. Detergent breaks down the phospholipid bi-layer.

  • The pH levels are responsible for regulating the function of various proteins in the cell membrane which regulates the transport of materials in and out of the cell. In conditions of high alkalinity or acidity the cell membrane gets damaged and proteins denature if the environment becomes to acidic.

Hope that helped!


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