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Penetration and Metabolism of DDT in Resistant and Susceptible House Flies and the Effect on Latent Toxicity1

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The effect of the following factors on the latent toxicity of p,p' DDT to susceptible (SCR-60) and resistant (Hawaiian) strains of the house fly, Musca domestica (L.), were investigated: (1) rate of cuticular penetration of the insecticide; (2) metabolism of the insecticide in the insect body; and (3) degree of carryover of the insecticide and its metabolites from the larval to the adult stage.

Cuticular penetration of DDT was more rapid in the larvae of the susceptible than in the larvae of the resistant strain. Resistance of the larvae of the Hawaiian strain to DDT is attributable to its rapid conversion to the nontoxic derivative DDE (2,2-bis- (p-chlorophenyl) -1,1-dichloroethylene). No internal DDT was recovered from the Hawaiian strain at any time, indicating complete dehydrochlorination of all the DDT that penetrated. Measurable amounts of DDT could be recovered from the susceptible SCR-60 larvae 1 hr after treatment, increasing to a maximum 96 hr after treatment. The larvae of the SCR-60 strain were limited in their ability to detoxify DDT to DDE.

The latent toxicity of DDT to the susceptible SCR-60 strain was due to the carryover of sufficient amounts of unchanged DDT from the larval to the adult stage to cause mortality in the flies shortly after emergence. The living flies contained very little DDT. A small amount of internal DDE was found in both dead and living flies. There was no carryover of DDT in the resistant Hawaiian strain. Only DDE was found internally, indicating complete detoxification of the absorbed DDT.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 1966

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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