Cellulose acetate/organoclay nanocomposites as controlled release matrices for pest control applications

Thabang N. Mphateng, António B. Mapossa*, James Wesley-Smith, Shatish Ramjee, Walter W. Focke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to develop cellulose-based polymer matrices as controlled release devices for plant-based insect repellents and attractants, with the aim of finding sustainable and environmentally friendly pest control methods for agricultural applications. Citronellol, terpineol and methyl salicylate were the selected active compounds for this study. Their compatibility with cellulose diacetate was predicted using Hansen Solubility Parameters, which predicted terpineol as the most compatible with cellulose diacetate, followed by methyl salicylate and citronellol. This was consistent with the plasticization efficiency trend from DMA results of solvent cast cellulose diacetate films containing the active compounds. The chemical identity of the films and cellulose diacetate-active compound intermolecular interactions were verified by FTIR. TGA demonstrated the thermal stability of cellulose diacetate/active compound/clay formulations at temperatures not exceeding 170 °C. Cellulose diacetate/organoclay nanocomposite matrices containing the active compounds at 35 wt-% were prepared by twin screw extrusion compounding, with the active compounds also functioning as plasticizers. The amount of active compound in the strands was determined by solvent extraction and TGA. Both methods showed that small amounts of active compound were lost during the compounding process. SEM demonstrated the effect of organoclay on the internal morphology of the matrix, whereas TEM showed clay dispersion and intercalation within the matrix. The matrix served as a reservoir for the active compounds while simultaneously controlling their release into the environment. Release profiles, obtained through oven ageing at 40 °C for 70 days, were fitted to existing Log-logistic and Weibull models, and novel Diffusion and Modified Weibull release models. Citronellol was released the fastest, followed by methyl salicylate and terpineol. The findings suggest that cellulose diacetate/organoclay strands are promising controlled-release matrices for pest control purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3915-3933
Number of pages19
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cellulose diacetate
  • Controlled release
  • Nanocomposite
  • Organoclay
  • Pest control
  • Plasticizer efficiency


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