In the late 1960s, a young Czechoslovakian entomologist named KarelSlama came as a visiting scientist to the laboratory of HarvardUniversity entomolgist Carol Williams. Slama brought along hiscollection of Linden bugs, Pyrrhocoris apterus, a central EuropeaninsectIn their New World environment, these bugs failed to metamorphosefrom larvae to winged insect. Instead, the larvae grew and bloated tomonstrous sizes, then died. After analyzing the nutrient and water theLinden bugs were receiving, with negative results, it occurred to Slamato test the shredded newspapers lining their cages.Like most U.S. newsprint, this paper came from Canadian balsam trees,whereas European newsprint derives from pine.The Harvard entomologists discovered that the balsam tree secretes itsown insecticide, in the form of a hormone that prevents larvae fromturning into mature insects.They dubbed it "the paper factor," and took their discovery to StanfordUniversity's entrepreneurial chemist, Carl Djerassi. He founded aCalifornia company called Zoecon to manufacture "Juvabione," thejuvenile hormone. Eventually, Sandoz Corp. bought Zoecon, beginningwith methoprene _ and the rest is history. _ David N. Leff
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