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Open Access gem-Difluorovinyl Derivatives as Insecticides and Acaricides

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The insecticidal lead 1,1-difluorododec-1-ene was optimised. This compound has attractive insecticidal activity against tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens), banded cucumber beetle (Diabrotica balteata), pea aphid (Aphis cracciovora), brown planthopper (Nilaparvata lugens), and green rice leafhopper (Nephotettix cincticeps). Among different pharmacophore analogues, only 1,1-dichlorododec-1-ene and 1,1-difluoro-2-iodododec-1-ene showed weak insecticidal activity, whereas similar compounds such as 1-chloro-1-fluorododec-1-ene, 1-fluorododec-1-ene, and 1,1-difluoro-2-bromododec-1-ene were inactive. Only bridge analogues with even-numbered carbon chains were active, for example 1,1-difluorodec-1-ene and 1,1-difluorotetradec-1-ene. Odd-numbered analogues such as 1,1-difluoronon-1-ene, 1,1-difluoroundec-1-ene, 1,1-difluorotridec-1-ene, and 1,1-difluoro-pentadec-1-ene showed no activity. Modification of the tail group led to the analogues 12,12-difluorododec-11-enoic acid and its methyl ester, 12,12-difluorododec-11-en-1-ol, 1,1-difluoro-12-methoxydodec-1-ene, and 12,12-difluorododec-11-enylamine, all of which showed insecticidal activity. 12,12-difluorododec-11-enoic acid methyl ester, 12,12-difluorododec-11-enoic acid, and 12,12-difluorododec-11-en-1-ol were also active against spider mites (Tetranychus ssp). Thus, in a first optimisation cycle, broad activity against insect pests and mites was discovered. Two requirements, the gem-difluorovinyl pharmacophore and an even-numbered carbon chain, were found to be essential for activity. This latter requirement is in line with the proposed mode of action, which involves inhibition of the β -oxidation of fatty acids in insect mitochondria. In a second optimisation cycle, it was found that 6,6-difluorohex-5-enoic acid and its derivatives, such as acids, amides, and hydrazides, possess even superior properties as insecticides and acaricides. This led to the discovery of 6,6-difluorohex-5-enoic acid 2-[4-(4-trifluoromethylbenzyloxy)-phenoxy]-ethyl ester (CGA 304'111). This compound showed excellent performance in field trials against a wide range of pests, as well as a more favourable toxicological profile than earlier derivatives. For a largescale synthesis of CGA 304'111, five different synthetic routes for 6,6-difluorohex-5-enoic acid were developed. The best route involved radical addition of CBrClF2 to pent-4-enoic acid. Removal of bromine by hydrogenation, elimination of chloride and hydrolysis of the ester concluded this most efficient sequence. Thus, a practical synthesis for CGA 304'111 was identified, which allowed the preparation of samples on a several 100 g scale.

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Keywords: 6,6-DIFLUOROHEX-5-ENOIC ACID; ACARICIDE; CGA 304'111; GEM-DIFLUOROVINYL; INSECTICIDE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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  • International Journal for Chemistry and Official Membership Journal of the Swiss Chemical Society (SCS) and its Divisions

    CHIMIA, a scientific journal for chemistry in the broadest sense, is published 10 times a year and covers the interests of a wide and diverse readership. Contributions from all fields of chemistry and related areas are considered for publication in the form of Review Articles and Notes. A characteristic feature of CHIMIA are the thematic issues, each devoted to an area of great current significance.

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