News › Demolition of the laboratory where synthetic pyrethroids were invented
22 September 2005
This week, the bulldozers moved in to demolish the Ogg building at Rothamsted Research (1), where synthetic pyrethroid insecticides were first discovered in the late sixties. Thirty five years later, this major group of insecticides is still the most important for controlling aphids and other sucking insect pests that damage crops and act as disease vectors. The synthetic pyrethroids account for 17% of global insecticide sales (2).
The first synthetic pyrethroid, bioresmethrin, was synthesised by Michael Elliott at Rothamsted in 1967 and his group went on to discover a range of other pyrethroids, including permethrin, deltamethrin and cypermethrin in the 1970's. Despite the subsequent discovery of 30 new pyrethroids, these early compounds still take a substantial share of the pyrethroid market (3). In the 1980's the Ogg laboratory was also home to Roman Sawicki's ground-breaking work on understanding the development of resistance to insecticides by certain pest species.
Related links› Department of Biological Chemistry
Contacts› John Pickett and Bhupinder Khambay
Notes to Editors1) Rothamsted Research is the largest agricultural research institute in the country and is sponsored by the BBSRC: www.bbsrc.ac.uk
2) From "Pyrethroids," B. Khambay and P. Jewess 2005 (in press).
3) In 2002, deltamethrin had the highest global sales of any pyrethroid, at 208 million US dollars (Cropnosis ltd).
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