# What do γ (gamma) and λ (lambda) mean in organic chemistry?

From the Wikipedia entry on Cyhalothrin:

Pyrethroids such as cyhalothrin are often preferred as an active ingredient in agricultural insecticides because they are more cost-effective and longer acting than natural pyrethrins. λ-and γ-cyhalothrin are now used to control insects and spider mites in crops including cotton, cereals, potatoes and vegetables.[5]

Lambda-cyhalothrin Cyhalothrin gamma.svg λ-cyhalothrin (racemic)

Compounds Lambda: λ-Cyhalothrin (RS)-α-cyano (1RS,3RS): Cyhalothrin Gamma: γ-Cyhalothrin

Gamma-cyhalothrin[6] and lambda-cyhalothrin1 are the active ingredients in the current commercial products based on cyhalothrin. Both are cyanohydrin esters of cis-3-[(Z)-2-chloro-3,3,3-trifluoropropenyl]-2,2-dimethylcyclopropanecarboxylic acid. All of the insecticidal activity is due to the proportion of absolute stereochemistry (1R) in the mixture.[7] The active isomer of deltamethrin, (1R)-cis-3-(2,2-dibromovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropanecarboxylic acid, has the same stereochemistry.

Cyhalothrin and deltamethrin acids. γ-cyhalothrin (a single chiral isomer) is indeed twice as active as λ-cyhalothrin on a weight-for-weight basis. The latter is racemic and contains the (1R) and inactive (1S) isomers in equal amounts.

I have tried and tried on my own to find out what lowercase gamma and lowercase delta could mean here, but I can't find an answer...

Also what does, AND Enantiomer mean? Or, A.N.D. Enantiomer?

• Can you please indicate which parts are quoted? You can do this by placing a right angle bracket > in front of the paragraph. Right now, it's rather difficult to parse your question. I don't know which parts are you talking and which parts are you telling me about the context. – orthocresol Oct 27 '20 at 17:13
• Appears to be purely marketing, chemistry-unrelated in this particular case. – permeakra Oct 27 '20 at 17:28
• The greek letters usually denote on which carbon atom on a chain some functional group is located, often counting from a carboxy group. The next - alpha, the one after the next - beta, the third - gamma, the very last on a long chain - omega. I don't understand the naming here, honestly. – Karl Oct 27 '20 at 17:35