What molecule am I?
Ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS), also called ethyl mesylate, is a simple, but hazardous, sulfonic acid ester. Its earliest preparation, reported by German organic chemist O. C. Billeter in 1905, was the reaction of methanesulfonic anhydride with ethyl alcohol.
As shown in the hazard information table, EMS is suspected of being mutagenic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic. In an early mutagenicity study (1965), Thomas Alderson at the University of Cambridge (UK) used EMS to induce mutations in fruit flies (Drosophila spp.).
In 1984, Gary A. Sega at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (TN) published an extensive review of EMS’s genetic effects. And last year, in its 15th Report on Carcinogens, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) of the US Department of Health and Human Services included a data sheet on the carcinogenicity of EMS. In addition, NTP also reported a summary of the testing status of the compound.
Because of its extreme toxicity, EMS is produced only for research purposes. Its primary use is as a model alkylating agent in biochemical and medical research, specifically in studies of DNA repair processes.
Learn more about this molecule from CAS, the most authoritative and comprehensive source for chemical information.