The Use Of Transition Metal Complexes As Antimicrobial Agents Assignment

Use of transition metal complexes in combating microbial infections, their benefits, risks, and future potential in medical research.

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The Use Of Transition Metal Complexes As Antimicrobial Agents Assignment

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In the clinical and medical industry, several kinds of antimicrobial agents are used to manage microbial activity. The advances medical research in this field has seen for a few years. Antimicrobial agents are majorly used to dominate microbial growth in any circumstance. To monitor the pathogenic activity in the biological field and for reducing any kind of infection, the antimicrobial agent is a sort of blessing. The antimicrobial agents are classified into anti-bacterial, antifungals, antivirals, and antiprotozoal. Different kinds of chemical residues like triclosan, parabens, and triclocarban mainly remain inside the antimicrobial agents. In modern days several Schiff-base compounds are attracted using as antimicrobial agents. Major research success has been employed through the discovery of the function of various metal complexes as antimicrobial agents in the clinical field.

Study Background

Many transition metals like lead, zinc, copper, nickel, titanium, cobalt, and molybdenum have been characterized to possess significant antibacterial properties. These metals are signified to work on the prevention of Escherichia coli. in many medicines, processed foods, and other biological experiments. Nowadays with the advance of metal complex uses it is reported that many “Azo-Schiff base and Heterocyclic-Schiff bases” of the transition metal complexes are comprehensively used in the biological fields (Nasiri Sovari and Zobi, 2020). The improvements in the synthesis of the sulfonamide complexes are also characterized for the purposes of antimicrobial agents’ uses. Even the ruthenium complexes are also determined as significant antimicrobial compounds in many medicinal studies. This report is aimed to evaluate the active utilization process of the transitional metals as antimicrobial agents. This report also evaluates the biased content on this topic by assessing its advantages and drawbacks. In the context of this study, the future scope and research limitations of these utilizations are also assessed below [Referred to Appendix 2].

Heterocyclic-Schiff base metal complex’s anti-microbial activity mechanism

Figure 1: Heterocyclic-Schiff base metal complex’s anti-microbial activity mechanism



Transition Metal complex as Microbial agents

Transition metal complexes have been used as microbial agents in a variety of applications. They are used as antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agents, and are particularly effective against Gram-negative bacteria. Transition metal complexes can be used to target specific bacteria and can be used to inhibit their growth or kill them outright. Transition metal complexes can also be used to modify bacterial surfaces and interfere with bacterial metabolism (Altaf et al. 2020). Additionally, transition metal complexes can be used to selectively remove specific types of bacteria from samples. Transition metal complexes have been investigated as potential antibacterial agents, primarily for their ability to bind and chelate metal ions essential for microbial metabolic activity and growth.

antimicrobial activity of the transitional metal complexes through molecular docking

Figure 2: The antimicrobial activity of the transitional metal complexes through molecular docking


Transition metal complexes have been used to target specific microbial species and inhibit the growth of a wide range of several bacteria, some varieties of yeasts, fungi, and parasites. These complexes demonstrate potent and selective antibacterial and antifungal activity even at low concentrations. Additionally, transition metal complexes have been shown to be effective against drug-resistant microorganisms such as “methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus” or MRSA. For example, copper-based complexes have been used to inhibit the growth of MRSA and other drug-resistant bacteria. Additionally, transition metal complexes have been used to target specific organisms such as E. coli and Salmonella while leaving beneficial bacteria intact.

The transitional metal complexes show vast improvements in cancer studies in the recent few years. The invention of new molecules in biological research is an extremely negotiable topic that can be justified through antibiotic revolutions. Approximately 75% more drug evaluation is listed among the biological needs. The evolution of transitional metal function in the microbial field offers huge possibilities and opportunities to drag the revolutionary parameters. Despite the highly active nature of those metals on the microbes, many leading pharmaceutical companies rejected to use of such components in their antibiotic medicines. However, some of the hospitals comprehensively use those compounds both for research purposes and for treating critical patients. I(n the bending of 2018, the discovery of “Arshphenamine” determined the syphilis treatment, also designated as compound 606 or Salvarsan (Sierra et al. 2019). The gold salt, “Auranofin” was evolved to treat a variety of cancers such as cervical, ovarian, breast, testicular, and bladder. In the recent 10 years of study, a total of 6 to 12 groups of transitional metal complexes have been synthesized which were immensely popular for their organometallic nature in antimicrobial studies [Referred to Appendix 1].

Chromium complex

The chromium Schiff-base complexes show high antibiotic efficacy in the medical field. These Scvvhiffs are mainly tetradentate from the structure and act as ligands with attached Fe ions. The antimicrobial activity of the chromium complexes shows efficacy on gram-negative bacterial strains such as Escherichia coli and P. aeruginosa (Kalarani et al. 2020). However, their efficacy is reportedly lower than those of ampicillin.

Structure of Chromium and Fe complex in the antimicrobial study

Figure 3: Structure of Chromium and Fe complex in the antimicrobial study


Molybdenum complex

In comparison to the chromium complex study molybdenum complexes have fewer activities. The complex named “dihalodioxidomolybdenum(VI)” shows a specific activity in the molybdenum enzymes such as xanthine oxidase, nitrate reductase, sulfite oxidase, etc (Plekhanova and Reshetilov, 2019). Molybdenum complexes are reported to show high antibacterial activities on P. aeruginosa, and S. aureus; anti-fungal activity on A. niger and A. flavus.

Figure 4: Structure of molybdenum metal complex


Ruthenium complex

The discovery or synthesis of Ruthenium species shows a vast range of antimicrobial agent properties in the medical field. In 2012 a unique structure of bimetallic flexicate had been developed. Using those flexicate the Ru species has been developed. The alkylation of one equivalent volume of “α,α′-dibromo-p-xylene” and 2 equivalent volumes of “(R)-2-phenylglycinol” must be done first (Munteanu and Uivarosi, 2021). Then along with the alkylated products, the flexicates should be introduced at the proportion of 3:6:2 at 85? temperature.


Transition metal complexes have been shown to exhibit potent antimicrobial activity, thus providing an effective alternative to traditional antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. Transition metal complexes have an affinity for certain target cells, allowing for more selective activity against the specific pathogen. Unlike many traditional antibiotics, transition metal complexes are generally considered to be less toxic to the host, resulting in fewer side effects (Claudel et al. 2020). Transition metal complexes often have broad-spectrum activity, meaning they can target multiple types of bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens. Transition metal complexes are often less expensive than traditional antibiotics, making them a more cost-effective solution for treating infections.

They are easy to use in various assays of drugs as they are relatively able to penetrate cellular membranes and exert their antibacterial action. They are often active against antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. They are able to inhibit both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Transition metal complexes are stable and can be stored for long periods of time.

The most attractive aspect of these metals' utilization is that they are relatively inexpensive compared to other antimicrobial agents. Transition metal complexes have relatively low toxicity which makes them suitable for use in food and pharmaceutical products (Shakeri et al. 2019). Even in many sectors they also show their non-toxic role that increases and enhances their universal uses. This is also notable that the advanced features and technological intervention along with these metals’ utilization make laboratory performance very much convenient. Even the researchers also try to evolve these alternatives at another level which reflects their expertise in household use too.


(Source: Self-created in MS word)

High cost of production

Transition metal complexes are expensive to synthesize and can be cost-prohibitive for large-scale production. Transition metal complexes can be expensive to produce and purchase.

Low water solubility

Many transition metal complexes are insoluble in water, making them difficult to use in aqueous solutions.


Transition metal complexes can be toxic to humans, animals, and plants, even at low concentrations. Some transition metal complexes are toxic to cells, leading to potential side effects when used as antimicrobial agents (Saravanan et al. 2020). The high toxicity levels of these complexes prevent many individuals from using them.

Poor stability

Transition metal complexes may be unstable and easily decompose, reducing their effectiveness. Many transition metal complexes are unstable in aqueous solutions and can degrade quickly, reducing their efficacy. Due to the unstable properties of these transition metal complexes, they can be easily decomposed over time.


Microorganisms can become resistant to transition metal complexes, making them less effective over time. Transition metal complexes can be susceptible to drug resistance, meaning that bacteria can become resistant to them over time (Frei, 2020). Even these metals can be inactive in the presence of certain compounds, reducing their efficacy.

Limited activity

Transition metal complexes may only have limited activity against certain types of bacteria.

Future Research Scope and limitations

Transition metal complexes may be used in many ways to develop new antibacterial agents. Transition metal complexes are currently used in combination with antibiotics to improve their activity and reduce the development of antibiotic resistance. In the future, transition metal complexes may be used in combination with other antibacterial agents to prepare anti-specific bacteria and viruses, or broad-spectrum antibiotics. Transition metal complexes can also be used to develop new antimicrobial drug delivery systems that allow for more targeted delivery and improved efficacy (Abu-Dief et al. 2021). Additionally, transition metal complexes can be used to develop new methods of diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. Transition metal complexes also can be used to develop new types of vaccines that can be used to protect against new and emerging infectious diseases.

Transition metal complexes are an emerging and promising area in antibacterial research. Transition metals such as zinc, copper, manganese, iron, and nickel have been used as therapeutic agents to prevent and treat bacterial and fungal infections. Transition metal complexes have been demonstrated to possess antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and antiviral activity as well as antioxidant and antiproliferative properties. As research continues to uncover the potential of these complexes, they are expected to become increasingly important in the prevention and treatment of microbial infections (Andiappan et al. 2019). In the future, transition metal complexes may be used in combination with conventional antibiotics for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant infections. New transition metal complexes can be developed to attack specific pathogens or improve the efficacy of current therapies. Transition metal complexes can also be used in combination with other therapeutic agents such as probiotics and natural products to achieve synergistic effects. Finally, transition metal complexes can be developed as novel antibacterial agents against specific pathogens.


It is signified that antimicrobial resistance is a concerning topic for medical researchers. The discovery of the antimicrobial activity of transition metals expanded the possibilities of many chronic disease treatments easily. Traditional organic anti-bactericides or antibiotics are showing low impacts on antimicrobial functions. The researchers have developed several new adaptations in the structural variation of those agents that show an efficient impact on the target microbes. Those structures also show rapid microbial activity that determines the quick recovery of many patients along with a speed in the research experiments. The effective function of those antimicrobial agents sets a possibility in the research field to work with newly discovered viruses that possess vulnerable effects on human cells and tissues.

The new ranges of these antimicrobial agents determine the different modes of action by exploiting their dimensional structure and complex designs. The bondings between the atoms can be influenced by several chemical or physical factors which either accelerate or allows down their activity on the microbes. Through a biased discussion, an important point has been evaluated that their structural modification highly affects their charges, substitution kinetics, biological targets, and lipophilicity. The drawbacks of these metal complexes are specifically considered as their limitations in the research. The highly toxic nature and selectable target actions are majorly identified as the limitation of those compounds.


Assessing all the aspects of this study critically it can be signified that the utilization of the transition metal complexes is beneficial for medical and clinical research. The cost-effective manufacturing process and easy resource availability of those metal complexes tend the researchers to work more on those components. However, the drug resistance power of these molecules is very low prevents many doctors and clinicians from using this. The toxicity of these complexes is another major reason for the decreased uses at the universal level. The metals can be highly toxic to the human body and even radioactive too. This causes limited use of these metals for laboratory purposes and keeps them completely away from the household or other civilized purposes.



Abu-Dief, A.M., El-Metwaly, N.M., Alzahrani, S.O., Alkhatib, F., Abualnaja, M.M., El-Dabea, T. and Ali, M.A.E.A.A., 2021. Synthesis and characterization of Fe (III), Pd (II) and Cu (II)-thiazole complexes; DFT, pharmacophore modeling, in-vitro assay and DNA binding studies. Journal of Molecular Liquids, 326, p.115277.

Altaf, S., Ajaz, H., Imran, M., Ul-Hamid, A., Naz, M., Aqeel, M., Shahzadi, A., Shahbaz, A. and Ikram, M., 2020. Synthesis and characterization of binary selenides of transition metals to investigate its photocatalytic, antimicrobial and anticancer efficacy. Applied Nanoscience, 10, pp.2113-2127.

Andiappan, K., Sanmugam, A., Deivanayagam, E., Karuppasamy, K., Kim, H.S. and Vikraman, D., 2019. Schiff base rare earth metal complexes: Studies on functional, optical and thermal properties and assessment of antibacterial activity. International journal of biological macromolecules, 124, pp.403-410.

Claudel, M., Schwarte, J.V. and Fromm, K.M., 2020. New antimicrobial strategies based on metal complexes. Chemistry, 2(4), pp.849-899.

Frei, A., 2020. Metal complexes, an untapped source of antibiotic potential?. Antibiotics, 9(2), p.90.

Kalarani, R., Sankarganesh, M., Kumar, G.V. and Kalanithi, M., 2020. Synthesis, spectral, DFT calculation, sensor, antimicrobial and DNA binding studies of Co (II), Cu (II) and Zn (II) metal complexes with 2-amino benzimidazole Schiff base. Journal of Molecular Structure, 1206, p.127725.

Munteanu, A.C. and Uivarosi, V., 2021. Ruthenium complexes in the fight against pathogenic microorganisms. an extensive review. Pharmaceutics, 13(6), p.874.

Nasiri Sovari, S. and Zobi, F., 2020. Recent studies on the antimicrobial activity of transition metal complexes of groups 6–12. Chemistry, 2(2), pp.418-452.

Plekhanova, Y.V. and Reshetilov, A.N., 2019. Microbial biosensors for the determination of pesticides. Journal of Analytical Chemistry, 74, pp.1159-1173.

Saravanan, A., Maruthapandi, M., Das, P., Ganguly, S., Margel, S., Luong, J.H. and Gedanken, A., 2020. Applications of N-doped carbon dots as antimicrobial agents, antibiotic carriers, and selective fluorescent probes for nitro explosives. ACS Applied Bio Materials, 3(11), pp.8023-8031.

Shakeri, A., Panahi, Y., Johnston, T.P. and Sahebkar, A., 2019. Biological properties of metal complexes of curcumin. BioFactors, 45(3), pp.304-317.

Sierra, M.A., Casarrubios, L. and de la Torre, M.C., 2019. Bio?Organometallic Derivatives of Antibacterial Drugs. Chemistry–A European Journal, 25(30), pp.7232-7242.

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