Date of Award

Spring 2011

Degree Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science




Capsaicin is the molecule in peppers that produces a sensation of heat and pain when exposed to sensory nerve cells in the body. A series of ethylenediaminetetracetate bis­amide chelates have been synthesized with regions selective for capsaicinoid binding to determine which functional groups increase overall binding strength. The initial lanthanide complexes bound capsaicinoids with moderate strength (approximately 105 M" 1). Additions to the bis-amide region of the chelating ligand aim to increase the selectivity of the lanthanide complex for capsaicinoids. Derivatives have been synthesized that contain aromatic rings and carbon chains to augment binding strength via the hydrophobic effect. Upon synthesis of the Eu3+ and Tb3+ complexes, luminescence spectroscopy is used to determine binding constants, binding stoichiometries, and the number of I-hO molecules bonded to the metal ion in solution. The current synthesis, characterization and luminescence results for the complexes is reported.

Included in

Chemistry Commons



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