Researchers in the Molecular Design Institute use a simple, inexpensive technique to develop a new fast-acting form of deltamethrin that may help with growing insecticide resistance. NYU researchers include postdoctoral fellow Jinxiang Yang (first author), grad student Bryan Erriah, x-ray crystallographer Chunhua (Tony) Hu, REU researcher Ethan Reiter and grad student Xiaolong Zhu, as well as Professors Bart Kahr and Michael D. Ward. The MDI scientists teamed up with colleagues Vilmalí López-Mejías and Isis Paola Carmona-Sepúlveda at the University of Puerto Rico.
Click here to read the article in PNAS, "A Deltamethrin Crystal Polymorph for More Effective Malaria Control."
Click here to read the NYU Research Highlight, "Chemists Create a New Crystal Form of Insecticide, Boosting its Ability to Fight Mosquitos and Malaria."
Significance: The use of deltamethrin, a crystalline contact insecticide and a leading tool in combatting malaria vectors, faces an uncertain future, threatened by developing resistance of mosquitoes. A more active crystalline polymorph of deltamethrin, discovered here, speeds the knockdown of susceptible mosquitoes by a factor of up to 12 compared with the currently used crystalline form. The faster-acting deltamethrin polymorph is predicted to suppress malaria transmission and associated human mortality while reducing environmental exposure because less agent is required to achieve the same effect. The outstanding performance of form II promises increased serviceable use of deltamethrin crystals for indoor residual spraying. Metastable forms of contact insecticides should be considered generally for public health applications.
The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) via its Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and other funding.