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Eur J Pharm Sci. 2018 Apr 30;116:61-69. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2018.01.025. Epub 2018 Jan 12.

A novel biphenolic ligand for selective Mg2+ and Zn2+ ions sensing followed by colorimetric, spectroscopic and cell imaging methods.

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Department of Chemistry, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli 620015, Tamilnadu, India. Electronic address:
Department of Chemistry, Selvamm College of Technology, Namakkal 637003, Tamilnadu, India.
Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Centre for Excellence in Nanobio Translational Research (CENTRE), Bharathidasan Institute of Technology, Anna University, Tiruchirappalli 620024, Tamil Nadu, India.


The (E)-2-((2-hydrohy-5-methylphenylimino) methyl) phenol ligand was synthesized. The receptor was characterized by IR, 1H and 13C NMR and CHN analysis. The ligand exhibits colorimetric and fluorometric sensing of Zn2+ and Mg2+ ions in semi-aqueous medium (DMSO-H2O). The receptor was tested with series of transition metal ions (Cr2+, Fe2+, Ni2+, Co2+, Cu2+, Zn2+) and heavy metal ions (Sn2+, Pd2+, Ce2+, Hg2+, Cd2+) and the essential human body elements like Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+ and K+ ions. The naked eye colorimetric sensing was absorbed only for Zn2+ and Mg2+. Both ions (ZnCl2 and MgCl2 in H2O), when added to the colorless solutions of the receptor of about 1 equivalence in incremental additions turn the solution into bright turmeric yellow. All other ions remain inactive, in colorimetric sensing. Further the Zn2+ and Mg2+ ions were probed by absorption and emission spectroscopy through incremental addition of respective metal ions. The in-situ deprotonation of the ligand on both Mg2+ and Zn2+ ions binding was confirmed by 1H NMR titration studies. The imino nitrogen of the receptor is not coordinated to the metal ions. The Job's plot studies reveal the 1:2 binding ratio of metal ions to the receptor. The high fold fluorescence output on metal ions binding was positively used to sense the Zn2+ and Mg2+ ions, separately and together in HeLa cancer cells through cell imaging.


Colorimetric; Fluorescence microscopy; Live cell imaging; MgCl(2); ZnCl(2)

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