Dehydrochlorination and Insecticidal Action in Chlorinated Hydrocarbons


EARLY in the history of D.D.T., Martin and Wain1 suggested that easy dehydrochlorination is necessary for insecticidal action in chlorinated hydrocarbons. This generalization has since been extended to benzene hexachloride, to chlorinated indanes and terpenes. A new group of insecticides, introduced by Julius Hyman and Co., of Denver, Colorado, provides an exception to this rule. For example, 'Compound 118', stated to be 1,2,3,4,10,10-hexachloro-1 : 4,5 : 8-diendomethano-1,4,4a,5,8,8a-hexahydronaphthalene, is stable to alcoholic potash yet is of the same order of insecticidal activity as D.D.T. Fed to caterpillars of Mamestra brassicœ, it was toxic at 0·14 ± 0·003 mgm. per 0·5 gm. larva, the toxic dose of D.D.T. being 0·06 ± 0·011 mgm. To adult Calandra granaria walking on filter paper impregnated with oil-solutions of the insecticides, the relative magnitude of the median effective doses (D.D.T. : 'Compound 118') was, after 68 hr., 4·5 : 1 ; after 90 hr., 2·5 : 1 ; after 120 hr., 1 : 1 ; and after 140 hr., 0·8 : 1. This difference in speed of action and differences in the reactions of the poisoned insects indicate that the two insecticides are dissimilar in their modes of action.


  1. 1

    Nature, 154, 512 (1944).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

MARTIN, H., WAIN, R. Dehydrochlorination and Insecticidal Action in Chlorinated Hydrocarbons. Nature 163, 918 (1949).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.