Bertil Nshime

Extraction of Pesticides from Contaminated Soil via Cyclodextrin Complexation

Cyclodextrins (CDs) are cyclic saccharides composed of 6-8 glucose units (α-, β-, and y-cyclodextrin respectively), produced by microbially induced breakdowns of starch. CDs have a doughnut like shape with a hydrophobic interior, and a hydrophilic exterior, which give CDs the ability to interact with both polar and non polar compounds. Depending on the size, CDs can form inclusion complexes with non polar molecules, which then allow the complex to be soluble in a polar solvent. This ability to interact with both polar and non polar molecules has been of interest in industry since the 1980s. Since the 1980s, the drug industry has been using CDs as a way to deliver non polar medications that are insoluble in the human blood. Studies have also been conducted to determine whether CDs can be used to remove polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from industrial areas, and the removal of oral malodorous compounds which cause the unpleasant smell in the mouth.

In this study, we are interested in using different types of CDs to determine whether they can be used in the agriculture industry to remove pesticides from soil. Most pesticides are non polar, and they do not wash away with rain or irrigation water. However, if CDs are added to the contaminated farmland, the pesticides in the soil can form an inclusion complex with the CD, which will increase the solubility of the pesticide, and allow them to be washed away with water.

Faculty Mentor: Andrew Lantz, Chemistry


Bertil presented at the Joint 66th Southwest and 62nd Southeast American Chemical Society Regional Meeting November 30-December 4, 2010 in New Orleans, LA.

Page last modified January 21, 2011