Photooxidation of DDT and DDE

Science  02 Jan 1970:
Vol. 167, Issue 3914, pp. 67-69
DOI: 10.1126/science.167.3914.67


The pesticide DDT [1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl) ethane] and its metabolite DDE [ 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl) ethylene] can be photoOxidized in methanol. Photolytic generation of free radicals that may abstract hydrogen from solvent, react with oxygen, or abstract hydrogen from unreacted substrate occurs. Further decomposition of short-lived intermediates yields many compounds. Oxidation products include benzoic acids, aromatic ketones, and chlorinated phenols. The DDE also undergoes photocyclization to give dichlorofluorene derivatives.