Recently, β-cyclodextrin (βCD)-based polymers with enhanced adsorption kinetics and high removal capacity of organic micropollutants (OMPs) and uptake rates have been synthesized and tested experimentally. Although the exact physical-chemical mechanisms via which these polymers capture the various types of OMPs are not yet fully understood, it is suggested that the inclusion complex formation of OMPs with βCD is very important. In this study, the inclusion complex formation of OMPs with βCD in an aqueous solution is investigated by using the well-established attach-pull-release method in force field-based molecular dynamics simulations. A representative set of OMPs is selected based on the measured occurrences in surface and ground waters and the directives published by the European Union. To characterize the formation of the inclusion complex, the binding free energies, enthalpies, and entropies are computed and compared to experimental values. It is shown that computations using the q4md-CD/GAFF/Bind3P force field combination yield binding free energies that are in reasonable agreement with the experimental results for all OMPs studied. The binding enthalpies are decomposed into the main contributing interaction types. It is shown that, for all studied OMPs, the van der Waals interactions are favorable for the inclusion complexion and the hydrogen bond formation of the guest with the solvent and βCD plays a crucial role in the binding mechanism. Our findings show that MD simulations can adequately describe the inclusion complex formation of βCD with OMPs, which is the first step toward understanding the underlying mechanisms via which the βCD-based polymers capture OMPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1218-1228
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ID: 71359986