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Department of Chemistry Research.

Research, technology and innovation related activities in the department include: cannabis research; medicinal chemistry; natural products; hydrogeochemical modelling, water analysis for contaminants of emerging concern, persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals; method development for optimization of analyte detection; pharmacology of bioactive compounds; drug residues in edible products; cosmetic ingredients for quality check; primary and secondary metabolites from plant sources; analysis of synthetic organic and organometallic compounds, material chemistry, nanotechnology as well as the characterization of nanomaterials. To support these research activities, the department has a wide range analytical equipment such as: Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS), Flame Photometer, Ultra Violet-Visible (UV-Vis) spectrophotometer, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) Fourier-Transform Infrared (FT-IR). Furthermore, these instruments are also used to train and equip undergraduate students with relevant chemical analysis skills.  


Number of Publications


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Conference proceedings

Selected Publications

The department is engaged in research in applied Chemistry and other interdisciplinary fields. Currently members in the department do research in water quality, agriculture related Chemistry and energy production and usage, using funds from National and international funding agencies. In most of these projects undergraduate students are involved to assist them develop excellent laboratory skills, and work on independent research. Some of the work has been either published or presented at local and international conferences. The following are some of the recent works that have been published and presented at different forums

1. Sola, P., Mvumi, B.M., Ogendo, J.O., Mponda, O., Kamanula, J.F., Nyirenda, S.P., Belmain, S.R. and Stevenson, P.C. (2014). Botanical pesticide production, trade and regulatory mechanisms in sub-Saharan Africa: making a case for plant-based pesticidal products. Food Sec. 6: 369-384.
2. Maliwichi-Nyirenda, C., Maliwichi, L.L. and Kamanula, J.F. (2014). Plants used for pest management in Malawi, pp. 295-302. In: A. Gurib-Fakim (ed.), Novel Plant Bioresources: Applications in Food, Medicine and Cosmetics, First Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
3. Kamanula, J.F., Zambasa, O. and Masamba, W.R.L. (2014) (in press). Quality of Drinking Water and Cholera prevalence in Ndirande Township, City of Blantyre, Malawi. Journal of Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. DOI: 10.1016/j.pce.2014.09.001
4. Wanda E., (2014). Hydrochemical monitoring of irrigation water quality in Mzimba District, Northern Malawi, Malawi Journal of Science and Technology Volume 10: ISSUE 1 | 2014, 93-101. Available online at www.chanco.unima.ac.mw.
5. Holm R., Wanda E.M., Kasulo V., Gwayi S., (2014). Identification of the potential opportunities, barriers, and threats within the sector in taking up sanitation as a business: rural sanitation in Nkhata Bay District (Malawi), Waterlines Vol. 33 No. 3. Available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.3362/2046-1887.2014.026, ISSN: 2046-1879 (print) 2046-1887.
6.  Holm, R., Kasulo, V., Wanda, E., (2014). Identification of funding mechanisms for private sector participation in the provision of rural household sanitation facilities, in Nkhata Bay District (Malawi), Sustainable Sanitation P r a c t i c e, Issue 20, 07/2014. Available online at www.ecosan.at
7. Holm, R., Kasulo, V., Wanda, E., (2014). Why lending institutions are not willing to provide rural sanitation and hygiene financial services (Malawi). Habitat International. (In press.)
8. Msilimba G., Wanda E.M., (2013). Microbial and geochemical quality of shallow well water in high-density areas in Mzuzu City in Malawi, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 66 (2013) 173–18 available online at journal homepage:www.elsevier.com/locate/pce.
9. Wanda E.M., Gulula L.C., Phiri A. (2013). Hydrochemical assessment of groundwater used for irrigation in Rumphi and Karonga districts, Northern Malawi, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 66 (2013) 51–59 available online at journal omepage:www.elsevier.com/locate/pce.
10. Wanda E.M., Gulula L. C.,  and Phiri G. W., (2012) Determination of characteristics and drinking water quality index in Mzuzu City, Northern Malawi (12th WaterNet/WARFSA/GWP-SA Symposium-Harnessing the Rivers of Knowledge for socio economic development, climate adaptation and environmental sustainability)- Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 50–52  92–97 available online at journal homepage:www.elsevier.com/locate/pce.
11. Wanda E.M., Gulula L.C. and Phiri G., (2012). An appraisal of public water supply and coverage in Mzuzu City, northern Malawi (12th WaterNet/WARFSA/GWP-SA Symposium-Harnessing the Rivers of Knowledge for socio economic development, climate adaptation and environmental sustainability)- Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 50–52  175-178 available online at journal homepage:www.elsevier.com/locate/pce.
12. Wanda E.M. and Holm R.  (2012). The Case for More Water Quality Data: Improving Decision Making in Malawi, IEEE Global humanitarian technology conference, October 21-24, 2012, Seattle, Washington USA, Renaissance Seattle Hotel.
13. Luhana C.B., Xiang-Jie Bo, Ju J., Li-Ping Guo, (2012) “A novel enzymatic glucose sensor based on Pt nanoparticles-decorated hollow carbon spheres-modified glassy carbon electrode”, J nanopart. Res.,14,1158
14. Stevenson, P.C., Nyirenda, S.P., Mvumi, B.M, Sola, P., Kamanula, J.F., Sileshi, G.W., and Belmain, S.R (2012). Pesticidal plants: A viable Alternative Insect Pest Management Approach for Resource-poor Farming in Africa. In Opender et al., Botanicals in Environment and Food Security, Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur, India. (Book chapter, pp. 212-238)
15. Belmain, S.R., Amoah, B.A., Nyirenda, S.P., Kamanula, J.F. and Stevenson, P.C. (2012). Highly Variable Insect Control Efficacy of Tephrosia vogelii Chemotypes. J. Agric. Food Chem, 60, 10055-10063.
16. Kamanula, J., Sileshi, G., Belmain, S.R., Sola, P., Mvumi, B.M., Nyirenda, G.K.C., Nyirenda, S.P. and Stevenson, P.C. (2011). Farmers’ Insect Pest management practices and pesticidal plant use in the protection of stored maize and beans in Southern Africa. International Journal of Pest Management 57 (1): 41-49.
17. Wanda E.M., Monjerezi M., Mwatseteza J.F., Kazembe L.N., (2011) .Hydro-geochemical appraisal of groundwater quality from weathered basement aquifers in Northern Malawi, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 36 (2011) 1197–1207 available online at journal homepage:www.elsevier.com/locate/pce.
18. Nyirenda, S.P., Sileshi, G.W., Belmain, S.R., Kamanula, J.F., Mvumi, B.M., Sola, P., Nyirenda, G.K.C. and Stevenson, P.C. (2011). Farmers’ ethno-ecological knowledge of vegetable pests and pesticidal plant use in northern Malawi and eastern Zambia. African Journal of Agricultural Research .
19. Muzemu, S. Mvumi, B.M., Nyirenda, S.P.M., Sileshi, G.W., Sola, P., Kamanula, J.F., Belmain, S.R. and Stevenson, P.C. (2011). Pesticidal effects of indigenous plants extracts against rape aphids and tomato red spider mites. African Crop Science Proceedings, Vol. 10, pp. 169-171.

Selected paper presentations


 Kamanula et al.,

Field evaluation of pesticidal plants for management of storage insect pests of dried maize and beans in Northern Malawi, Harnessing Pesticidal Plant Technologies for improved livelihoods. Conference 21st -24th January 2013, ICIPE Nairobi, Kenya.


Wanda et al.

Sanitary Risk Assessment and Communication in Mzuzu Peri Urban Areas, NEPAD Southern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence (SANWATCE)- Malawi Country Workshop Blantyer, Malawi, 23-25 April 2013.


Wanda E.M

Re-thinking irrigation water quality monitoring as a tool for climate change adaptation in Malawi, Socioeconomic Consequences of Climate Change in Sub-Equatorial Africa (SoCoCA) workshop, 25-27 September 2012, Sunbird Capital Hotel, Lilongwe, Malawi, Theme: ‘Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa and Impacts on Agriculture and Economic Development.


Masumbu et al.

“An Investigation on the Potential of Biogas Production from Human Waste for Institutional Cooking: A Case Study of Mzuzu University Cafeteria”, 2nd National Commission for Science and Technology National Research Dissemination Conference, Crossroads Hotel, Lilongwe, Malawi, 16-18 May, 2012.


Msilimba G.C. and Wanda E.M.,

Microbial and chemical quality of shallow well water in high-density areas in Mzuzu City in Malawi, 13th WaterNet/WARFSA/GWP-SA Symposium, Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo International Conference Centre, Johannes Burg, Republic of South Africa, 30th October-2nd November, 2012.


Masumbu et al.,

“A Commercial High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) Hot-setting Corrugated Board Adhesive Formulation” presented at the 16th Triennial Symposium for International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria, 23-28 September, 2012.


Wanda E.M., Gulula L.C. and Kushe J.,

An assessment of the co-management approach used to manage upper Lunyangwa River Catchment and Lunyangwa Dam in Mzuzu City, northern Malawi, International conference on Freshwater Governance for Sustainable Development, Monday, 5th to Wednesday, 7th November, 2012, Champagne Sports Resort, Central Drakensberg Mountain Range, Republic of South Africa.