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Synthesis, Physicochemical, and Antimicrobial Activity of Copper and Zinc Complexes with N, O - Bidentate Schiff Base

Elias Assayehegn
Abraha Tadese
Goitom G/Yohannes
Samuel Alemayehu
Tesfamariam Teklu


This paper is intended to prepare new antimicrobial complexes with proven efficiency. The Schiff base, through the condensation process of salicylaldehyde and p-toludine, and its Cu and Zn complexes were successfully synthesized. The Schiff base and its complexes were characterized using molar conductivity, Ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis), atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) techniques. Accordingly, these characterizations not only confirmed that the synthesized Schiff base acted as N,O bidentate ligand (through azomethine nitrogen and phenoxide oxygen) and chelated with Cu(II) and Zn(II) in the metal-to-ligand ratio of 1:2 but also revealed the characteristic electronic-transition of π→π*/n→π* of the ligand, and ligand-metal charge transfer and d-d of the metal complexes. Moreover, both Cu and Zn complexes recorded weak molar conductance of 54.12 and 51.41 S cm2 mol-1, respectively. Further, their antibacterial activities were evaluated by disc diffusion assay against Staphylococcus aureus (gram-positive), Escherichia coli (gram-negative), and Bacillus cereus (gram-negative) bacteria. For all microbial, the metal complexes recorded higher activities than the parent ligand; such increased activity of the complexes may be due to the chelation of the metal ion in the complexes, which enhances the lipophylic character favoring its permeation through the lipid layer of the cell membrane. Such metal complexes can therefore be explored in the future as an option for decreasing the pathogenic potential of infecting bacteria.