Bahamon Pinzon Developing Low-cost, High-tech Sensors to Detect Pesticides

Bahamon Pinzon presenting a poster at the 2022 annual meeting of the Institute of Biological Engineering.

Environmental contamination by pesticides is a worldwide problem.  This is especially the case in developing countries where resources are often lacking for monitoring the levels of contamination using high-tech lab instrumentation.  That’s where EEES Ph.D. candidate David Bahamon‑Pinzon comes in.  Bahamon‑Pinzon’s research is focused on developing low cost facile electrochemical sensors for amperometric determination of pesticides in water samples, including glyphosate, a widely used herbicide.  The results of his research were recently published in the journal Microchimica Acta.

Aerial spraying of herbicides is a common way that surface waters become contaminated. This part of Colombia has the second largest sugarcane plantation of the Americas with nearly 600,500 acres. It is known locally as “el desierto verde” (the green desert).

Along with his advisor, Dr. Diana Vanegas, and other members of the Vanegas lab, David will be traveling to the country of Colombia during the summer of 2022 to challenge the measurement system with real water samples from rural settlements.  Deployment of sensors like the ones Bahamon‑Pinzon is developing will significantly improve access to information about the dangers of contaminated water supplies, especially in rural areas.