Lars-Erik Tammelin

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Lars-Erik Tammelin, born 1923, died 1991, was a Swedish chemist, defence researcher and civil servant.

Tammelin, who was an organic chemist, was recruited to the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOA) in 1950 for research on nerve gas and nerve gas countermeasures. At this time, FOA (whose previous chemical warfare activities had focussed on mustard gas and other World War I-style compounds) had become aware that large quantities of nerve gas, primarily Tabun, had been stockpiled during World War II.[1] The mechanism of action of the nerve gases were found to be linked to their chemical similarity to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and their ability to block the enzyme cholinesterase. Much of Tammelin's work was therefore focussed on choline esters. In 1958, he defended a Ph.D. thesis based on this work at Stockholm University College.[2] The esters that form the V-Series of nerve agents are sometimes referred to as "Tammelin's esters".

Succinylcholine, one of the compounds synthesized by Tammelin in his search for nerve gas countermeasures was put into use as a muscle relaxant for use during general anaesthesia surgery under the brand name Celocurin.

In 1961, Tammelin became head of the chemical-medical division at FOA, when he successed Gustaf Ljunggren, and 1984-1985 he was the director-general of FOA.


  1. ^ Larsson, Lennart (1995). Littke, Ann Kathrine & Sundström, Olle, ed. "Nervgasforskning under två decennier - en översikt" [Nerve gas research during two decades - an overview]. Försvarets forskningsanstalt 1945-1995 (in Swedish) (Försvarets forskningsanstalt): 185–188. ISBN 91-87184-39-7. 
  2. ^ Lars-Erik Tammelin: Choline esters: substrate and inhibitors of cholinesterases, Diss., Stockholm, 1958. (LIBRIS record)