Agrochemicals and Pharmaceuticals: The Connection
Three categories of agrochemicals (or potential agrochemicals) and pharmaceuticals are discussed both in the context of historical discovery and utilitarian development. The benzodiazepines include the natural products cyclopenin and cyclopenol, their potential as plant growth regulators, fungicides, and tranquilizers vs. the synthetics lorazepam, oxazepam, clorazepate dipotassium, temazepam, prazepam, flurazepam dihydrochloride, triazolam, and alprazolam. All exhibited activity in the etiolated wheat coleoptile bioassay. The phenoxy compounds include 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and its 2,4,5-trichloro congener, 2-(3-chlorophenoxy)-propanoic acid, and
-chlorophenoxyacetic acid, all of which are plant growth regulators. Juxtaposed to these is the development of clofibric acid, clofibrate, and their derivatives which reduce blood serum cholesterol. Finally, the organophosphates metrifonate, initially used to control schistosomiasis, and dichlorvos are examined. Dichlorvos, a catabolite of metrifonate, was an important insecticide but now finds use in controlling Alzheimer’s disease.