Chemistry and Toxicology of Sulphur Mustard- A Review

  • R. C. Malhotra Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
  • K. Ganesan Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
  • K. Sugendran Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
  • R. V. Swamy Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
Keywords: Chemical warfare agent, Sulphur mustard, Bis2 chloroethyl sulphide


Bis (2-chloroethyl) sulphide commonly known as sulphur mustard (SM) is highly reactive bifunctional compound, documented as antimitotic, mutagenic, carcinogenic, teratogenic and cytotoxic agent. It is a powerful vesicant and has been employed as a chemical warfare agent. Skin, eyes and respiratory tract are the principal target organs and the deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA) is the most important molecular target of SM toxicity. There is no specific antidote for SM injury .Treatment to SM toxicity is symptomatic.

Author Biographies

R. C. Malhotra, Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
Dr RC Malhotra obtained his PhD (Organic Chemistry) from Jiwaji University, Gwalior. He joinedDefence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior, in 1969. He is presentlyworking on synthesis, chemical analysis, process development, destruction and decontamination oflethal and nonlethal compounds. He has published 35 papers in national and international journals.He was given DRDO Scientist of the Year Award (1996) in basic sciences for his outstandingcontributions.
K. Ganesan, Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
Mr K. Ganesan obtained his MSc (Chemistry) from Bharathiar University. He joined DRDE in1989. He is presently working as Scientist C in Process Technology Development Division. His areasof work indude: synthesis, chemical analysis and decontamination of chemical warfare agents.
K. Sugendran, Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
Dt K. Sugendran obtained his PhD (Biochemistry) from Jiwaji University, Gwalior. He worked atJIPMER, Pondichery and subsequently at Madras Port Trust Hospital in various capacities for adecade. He joined DRDE in 1987. He is presently working on the development of antidote againstSM intoxication. He has published 20 papers in national and international journals.
R. V. Swamy, Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
Dr RV Swamy obtained his MSc (Chemistry) from Madras University, PhD from IIT, Kanpur andpost-doctorate from Iowa State University, USA. He joined DRDO at DRDE in 1975. Presently, he isDirector, DRDE. He has published more than 35 papers in nationallinternational journals. He gotDRDO Scientist of the Year Award (1989) in basic sciences and VASVZK Award (1995) in biologicalSciences. He is a member of Indian delegation for Chemical Weapon Convention, Biological &Toxin Weapon Convention and Confidentiality Commission, OPCW.


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How to Cite
Malhotra, R., Ganesan, K., Sugendran, K., & Swamy, R. (2013). Chemistry and Toxicology of Sulphur Mustard- A Review. Defence Science Journal, 49(2), 97-116.
Biomedical Sciences

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