The Journal of Agricultural Science

Research Article

The influence of chemical constitution on the toxicity of organic compounds to wireworms

F. Tattersfielda1 and A. W. R. Robertsa1

a1 (Rothamsted Experimental Station).

1. The relationship between chemical constitution and toxicity to wireworms of organic compounds is found to be of a twofold nature.

2. The general effect of a group of compounds of the same type is directly determined by the chemical constitution of the type. The particular effects of individual members of the groups are limited by their physical properties such as volatility etc., which may be regarded as indirect consequences of their chemical constitution.

3. The aromatic hydrocarbons and halides are on the whole more toxic than the aliphatic hydrocarbons and halides. The groups that influence toxicity most when introduced singly into the benzene ring are in order of importance the methylamido (most effective), dimethylamido, hydroxy, nitro, amido, iodine, bromine, chlorine, methyl groups (least effective). But this order is modified in presence of another group; thus when there is a CH3 already present in the ring the order becomes chlorine (side chain), amido, hydroxy, chlorine (ring), methyl. Chlorine and hydroxy groups together give rise to highly poisonous substances considerably more effective than where present separately. The association of chlorine and nitro groups in chloropicrin gives rise to one of the most toxic substances tested. Methyl groups substituted in the amido group of aniline increase toxicity more than if substituted in the ring.

(Received December 17 1919)