The results of tests of the biological activity of certain nitrophenols containing halogen are reported. Some of these are shown to be significantly more toxic to larvae of the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus L.) than to fishes. It is proposed that the death of lamprey larvae exposed to these compounds results from an acute hypotension (shock) with concomitant circulatory and respiratory failure. Rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri), on the other hand, appear to die, at higher concentrations of the toxin, due to a chemically-caused mechanical interference with respiration through the gills. A systematic series of studies of mononitrophenols containing halogens disclosed that those phenols having the nitro group in the para-position and a halogen atom or group in the meta-position are generally more toxic to lampreys than to fish. The halogens or halogen groups used in this study were fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and trifluormethyl. The same substituents in other positions only occasionally gave rise to selectively toxic compounds. The relationship between the selectively active class of nitrophenols containing halogens and other related structures is discussed.
Additional publication details
The relation between molecular structure and biological activity among mononitrophenols containing halogens