Head of Department and Chair and Research Committee
Professor of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry
My current research activities and interests include the following; (i) water filtration membranes for removal of inorganic and organic pollutants, and microbes; (ii) adsorption kinetics studies for removal of inorganic and organic pollutants using electrospun nanofibers/materials obtained from polymer membranes, biopolymers (e.g. cellulose, chitosan and lignin) and biomass materials such as maize tassel, sugarcane baggase, algae, etc., with application in drinking water and contaminated water/ wastewater. Her other areas of active research include; (iii) studies of chemical speciation of heavy metals in water systems; (iv) monitoring the efficiency of constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment; (v) method development for sampling and sample preparation to improve sensitivity of analytical techniques in trace level analysis of pollutants in freshwater; (vi) development of solid-state and chemically-modified electrodes, biosensors and gas sensors in batch and flow injection modes as well as chromatographic analyses for environmental, biological and gas monitoring applications; (vii) hydrogeochemical modeling of multi-species release and transport in flyash-brine co-disposal systems, using PHREEQC packages; and modeling studies for the determination of natural organic matter effects on cooling water (CW) precipitation potentials, using Visual MINTEQ.
The following techniques are regularly employed to implement research activities:
(i) Surface and structural characterization of materials namely clay & soils;synthetic polymers: and biomass (e.g nanomaterials; soda ash, plant ash, fly coal, clay & solids, etc) using Voltammetry, XRD, SEM/ FEGSEM, TEM, AFM, NMR ATR-FTIR; DSC-TGA; Elemental Analyzer;
(ii) Metal Analysis using FAAS, GFAAS, ICP-OES; ICP-MS; XRF;
(iii) Inorganic anions (fluorides, phosphates, sulphates, schlorides, nitrates, etc) using Ion Chromatography and UV-Vis Spectrophotometry.
(iv) Persistent organic pollutants analysis: HPLC-detectors, GC-detectors; LC-MS, GC-MS, etc
Publications: 2 x Books; 5x Book Chapters; 60x Journals; 70xConferences &Proceedings
PhD Thesis: Flow Electrochemical-Potentiometric Detection of Ions using Metallic and Coated Wire Electrodes in Single and Multiple Cell Designs
Selected Publications in Water Analysis and Treatment in Last 2 years
Isaac W Mwangi, J Catherine Ngila, Patrick Ndungu (2012). A new spectrophotometric method for determination of residual polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride flocculant in treated water based on a diazotization–coupled ion pair, Water SA (In Press)
Richard M. Nthumbi, J. Catherine Ngila*, Andrew Kindness, Brenda Moodley and Leslie Petrik (2012). Application of chitosan/ polyacrylamide nanofibres for removal of chromate and phosphate in water. Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Earth. DOI: 10.1016/j.pce.2012.07.001 ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pce.2012.07.001
Philiswa N. Nomngongo, J. Catherine Ngila, Titus A. M. Msagati, Bhekumuzi P. Gumbi and Emmanuel I. Iwuoha (2012). Determination of selected persistent organic pollutants in wastewater from landfill leachates, using an amperometric biosensor. Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Earth. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pce.2012.08.001
Isaac W Mwangi and J Catherine Ngila* (2012). Removal of heavy metals from contaminated waters using ethylenediamine-modified and unmodified green seaweed. Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Earth. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pce.2012.08.015,
Isaac W Mwangi,J Catherine Ngila* and Jonathan Okonkwo (2012). A comparative study of modified and unmodified maize tassels for removal of selected heavy metals in contaminated water, Toxicology and Environmental Chemistry, 94(1), 20–39
Samuel Owusu Yeboah, Yulita Chebotich Mitei, Jane Catherine Ngila, Ludger Wessjohann, Juergen Schmidt (2011); Compositional and structural studies of the major and minor composition in three Cameroonian seed oils by GC-MS, ESI-FTIR-MS and HPLC. Journal of American Oil Chemists 88, 1539-1549
Joseph Nyingi Kamau, Jane Catherine Ngila*, Andrew Kindness and Tamara Bush (2011); Equilibrium and Kinetic Studies for Extracting Cu, Mn and Fe from Pulp Filtrate onto a C-18 Column with Acetylacetone Complexing Ligand. Analytical Letters 44 (11), 1891-1906
Stephen Makali Musyoka, Jane Catherine Ngila*, Brenda Moodley, Andrew Kindness, Lesley Petrik and Corinne Greyling (2011). Synthesis, Characterization and Adsorption Kinetic Studies of Ethylenediamine Modified Cellulose for Removal of Cd and Pb. Analytical Letters 44 (11), 1925-1936
Richard M. Nthumbi1, J. Catherine Ngila*, Andrew Kindness, Brenda Moodley, Leslie Petrik and Corinne Greyling (2011). Method Development for Flow Adsorption and Removal of lead (Pb) and copper (Cu) in Contaminated Water using Electrospun Nanofibers of Chitosan Blend. Analytical Letters 44 (11), 1937-1955
Philiswa N. Nomngongo, J. Catherine Ngila*, Vincent O. Nyamori, Everlyne A. Songa Emmanuel I. Iwuoha (2011). Determination of selected heavy metals using amperometric horseradish peroxidase (HRP) inhibition biosensor. Analytical Letters 44 (11), 2031-2046.
Graduated Students = 21 x Honours; 12xMSc/MPhil and 5x PhD
Current students 17 = 9 MSc and 8x PhD
Grants Awards (2001-todate: Prof Ngila has received from University of Johannesburg, Faculty Research Committee, University of KwaZulu Natal Research office (Competitive Research Awards), University of Botswana Research and Development Office (Large Grant Awards), South Africa Research funding- NRF, Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW (The Netherlands); South Africa Industries including/Research Commissions/Organizations including: Water Research Commission (WRC); Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), SASOL-Petrochemical industry, ESKOM-Power/Electricity Industry, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SiDA), International Foundation for Science (IFS), Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, United States of America, National Science Foundation (NSF), etc.
Prof Ngila has served as a referee for professional Journals such as: (1) Discovery and Innovations journal, (2) Botswana Journal of Technology (BJT), (3) Bulletin of Chemical Society of Ethiopia; (4) Research Journal of Chemistry and Environment, (5) Talanta, (6) South Africa Journal of Chemistry, (7) Journal of Hazardous Material (8) Fresenius Environmental Bulletin (9) Spectroscopy letters, (10) International journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry (11) Electrochimica Acta (12) Sensors (13) Journal of Toxicology & Environment; (14) Analyst; Water Research, Water SA, Bioresource Technolgy, Desalination, etc.
Proposal Reviewed for various NRF, WRC, etc.; from 2006-to date
Prof Ngila has a word of encouragement to young scientists who are just starting their research programs:“it will be a lot easier if you collaborate with those who have experience in research activities related to your field. This may involve proposal writing for funding, co-authoring journal articles, etc. This is what they call “networking”. Lastly, try attending an international conference occasionally, once per year if possible. This way you can borrow a leaf from the conference presentations.