DDT Polymorphism and the Lethality of Crystal Forms

Jingxiang Yang, C. T. Hu, Xiaolong Zhu, Qiang Zhu, Michael D. Ward, Bart Kahr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DDT (1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)ethane), a contact insecticide with a rich and controversial history since its activity was discovered in 1939, has long been thought to be monomorphic. Herein we report the discovery and characterization of a second polymorph, designated Form II, which can be isolated as single crystals, but converts very slowly at room temperature to the form reported previously, now designated as Form I. Computations based on an evolutionary algorithm for crystal structure prediction revealed that Forms I and II are among the four lowest energy crystal structures of fifty calculated. A preliminary study of the contact insecticidal activity toward fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) indicates that Form II is more active, suggesting opportunities for more effective solid-state formulations that would allow reduced amounts of DDT, thereby minimizing environmental impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10165-10169
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 14 2017


  • DDT
  • crystallography
  • insecticides
  • polymorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'DDT Polymorphism and the Lethality of Crystal Forms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this