Investigation of the Interaction of Benzo(a)Pyrene and Fluoranthene with Cucurbit[n]urils (n = 6–8): Experimental and Molecular Dynamic Study

Abdalla A. Elbashir*, Amira A. Alfadil, Fakhr Eldin O. Suliman, Ahmed O. Alnajjar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The inclusion complexes of cucurbit[n]uril, CB[n] (n = 6–8), with poly aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) Benzo(a)Pyrene (BaP), and fluoranthene (FLT) were investigated carefully in aqueous media. Fluorescence and 1H NMR spectroscopy were used to characterize and investigate the inclusion complexes that were prepared in the aqueous media. The most predominant complexes of both guests with hosts were the 1:1 guest: host complexes. Stability constants of 2322 ± 547 M−1, 7281 ± 689 M−1, 3566 ± 473 M−1 were obtained for the complexes of BaP with CB[6], CB[7], and CB[8], respectively. On the other hand, stability constants of 5900.270 ± 326 M−1, 726.87 ± 78 M−1, 3327.059 ± 153 M−1 were obtained for the complexes of FLT with CB[6], CB[7], and CB[8], respectively. Molecular dynamic (MD) simulations were used to study the mode and mechanism of the inclusion process and to monitor the stability of these complexes in aqueous media at an atomistic level. Analysis of MD trajectories has shown that both BaP and FLT form stable inclusion complexes with CB[7] and CB[8] in aqueous media throughout the simulation time, subsequently corroborating the experimental results. Nevertheless, the small size of CB[6] prohibited the encapsulation of the two PAHs inside the cavity, but stable exclusion complex was observed between them. The main driving forces for the stability of these complexes are the hydrophobic forces, van der Waals interactions, electrostatic effect, the π····π and C–H···π interaction. These results suggest that BaP and FLT can form stable complexes with CB[n] (n = 6–8) in solution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1136
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 23 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Benzo(a)Pyrene
  • Cucurbit[n]uril
  • fluoranthen
  • inclusion complexes
  • molecular dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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