Sweet Killer

July 2019

7-deoxy-sedoheptulose (7dSh, for short) is too much a tongue twister for a household name, but newly discovered sugar molecule may soon become part of our daily lives.

The molecule inhibits the growth of various microorganisms and plants but is harmless to humans and animals, and that, say the University of Tübingen scientists who discovered it, could make it an ideal substitute for the herbicide glyphosate, whose use is restricted in Germany and many other countries.

They hope, the scientists added, to replace controversial herbicides in the long term and thus reduce herbicide metabolites, which pose a health risk.

The next step for 7dSh is to undergo further tests to determine its effectiveness in the field, degradability in soil and harmlessness to livestock and humans.

© Klaus Bilisauer