Paul Hermann Muller – synthesized DDT insecticide, vegetable dyes, natural tanning agents

Paul Hermann Muller – synthesized DDT insecticide

Category : Personalities
Published by : Data Research Analyst, Worldofchemicals.com

Biography & contributions

Paul Hermann Muller was a Swiss chemist, Noble laureate born on January 12, 1899 – died on October 13, 1965. Muller was synthesized dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) / 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)ethane  insecticide.

In 1948 he got Nobel Prize for the discovery of insecticidal qualities and use of DDT in the control of vector diseases. Muller received an honorary doctorate from the University of Thessalonica in Greece in recognition of DDT's impact. Muller was the winner of honorary doctorate at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Golden medal of the city of Thessaloniki in the year of 1963.

He worked on chemical and electrochemical oxidation of m-xylidine. Muller also worked on vegetable dyes and natural tanning agents. This work led to the production of the synthetic tanning agents Irgatan G, Irgatan FL and Irgatan FLT.

Facts about dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is a colorless, crystalline, tasteless and almost odorless organochloride insecticide used in agriculture. It was also used in the second half of World War II to control malaria and typhus among civilians and troops. DDT is the best-known of several chlorine-containing pesticides used in the 1940s and 1950s. DDT, prepared by the reaction of chloral with chlorobenzene in the presence of sulfuric acid, was first made in 1874. The name DDT was first employed by the British Ministry of Supply in 1943, and the product was added to U.S. Army supply lists in May of the same year. It was also in 1943 that the first practical tests of DDT as a residual insecticide against adult vector mosquitoes were carried out.

It was less effective in tropical regions due to the continuous life cycle of mosquitoes and poor infrastructure. DDT is a persistent organic pollutant that is readily adsorbed to soils and sediments, which can act both as sinks and as long-term sources of exposure contributing to terrestrial organisms. DDT has been formulated in almost every conceivable form, including solutions in xylene or petroleum distillates, emulsifiable concentrates, water-wettable powders, granules, aerosols, smoke candles and charges for vaporizers and lotions.

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