ABSTRACT Pesticides are widely used in agriculture, although they may create hazards both to humans and to the environment. In order to reduce the harmful effects of their administration, there has been made a great effort to find solutions. The porous sol-gel silica materials which are able to entrap different organic molecules represent new studied controlled release carriers. The aim of the present work was to prepare and characterize sol-gel composites based on trichlorfon as organophosphorous pesticide embedded in silica matrices generated from three different SiO2 sources: tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS), colloidal silica (CS), and sodium silicate (SS). Similar samples to those containing only trichlorfon have also been synthesised, in which α-, β-, and γ-cyclodextrin have been included in order to study the possibility of improving the release of the pesticide from the silica matrices. The porous sol-gel silica materials generated from TEOS and CS are able to entrap the trichlorfon and ensure an efficient delivery of the pesticide. In the absence of cyclodextrins, better results are obtained in the case of TEOS precursor, compared to colloidal silica. The addition of cyclodextrins in order to improve the release of the pesticide from the silica matrices was successful only in the case of CS as SiO2 precursor. The best release of the pesticide was obtained with β-CD.
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