Current Students

Tyler Nugen

Undergraduate Researcher


Chemistry A120
800 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Bloomington, Indiana
47405 U.S.A.

Previous Education

Indiana University (Expected 2020)

Research Information

Electrochemical Studies of Halogenated Hydroxybenzonitriles at Silver Cathodes

Chloroxynil (3,5-dichloro-4-hydroxybenzonitrile), Bromoxynil (3,5-dibromo-4-hydroxybenzonitrile), and Ioxynil (3,5-diiodo-4-hydroxybenzonitrile) belong to a group of halogenated phenols commonly used as herbicides to control broad-leaved weeds. Functioning as disruptors of oxidative phosphorylation, these compounds have grown in popularity in recent years as alternatives to atrazine, particularly bromoxynil (1800–2200 tons applied per year).1,2 In the environment, all three herbicides can undergo hydrolysis as well as enzymatic degradation to the corresponding benzamide (3,5-dihalo-4-hydroxybenzamide) and subsequently to the benzoic acid (3,5-dihalo-4-hydroxybenzoic acid), both of which have the possibility of persisting in soil.3,4 As a result, an efficient means of degrading the parent compounds is necessary. Sokolova and co-workers5 have investigated the electrochemical reduction of these hydroxybenzonitriles; however, their studies employed mercury working electrodes, which are known to be extremely toxic and hazardous. Silver has long been praised as an advantageous cathode for remediation of environmental pollutants due to its affinity for halides. Presently, we are employing silver cathodes to investigate the electrochemical behavior of chloroxynil, bromoxynil, and ioxynil in dimethylformamide (DMF).