DDT: A New Hypothesis of Its Mode of Action

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Science  30 Oct 1964:
Vol. 146, Issue 3644, pp. 657-658
DOI: 10.1126/science.146.3644.657


It is suggested that DDT and perhaps other chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides owe their activity to the formation of a charge-transfer complex with a component of the nerve axon, with consequent disturbance of function. Experimental evidence is provided for the formation of two complexes with components of cockroach nerve; the complexes have been partially purified. Their formation is accompanied by an absorption in the 245- to 270-millimicron range.