Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from K-O

Müller, Paul Hermann

insecticide limited chemical animals

[mü ler] (1899–1965) Swiss chemist: developed DDT as an insecticide.

Educated in Basle, Müller spent his career from 1925 with the Swiss chemical company of J R Geigy. From 1935 he attempted to find an insecticide that would be rapid and persistent but harmless to plants and to warm-blooded animals. By 1940 he had patented as an insecticide a chemical first made in 1873; it was dichlorodiphenyltrichloromethane (‘DDT’), which is cheaply and easily produced. This was highly effective, eg in killing lice (the carriers of typhus fever) and so preventing epidemics at the end of the Second World War. For 20 years it was much used, but fell into partial disfavour when the emergence of resistant insect species limited its effectiveness, while it was also found to have a damaging effect on some other animals; its persistence in food chains was seen as a disadvantage and by the 1970s its use was banned or limited in some advanced countries. Müller was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1948.

Mössbauer, Rudolph Ludwig [next] [back] Müller, Johannes Peter

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or