Unprecedented Water Effect as a Key Element in Salicyl-Glycine Schiff Base Synthesis

Molecules. 2020 Mar 10;25(5):1257. doi: 10.3390/molecules25051257.


Salens, as chelating, double Schiff base ligands, are an important group utilized in transition metal catalysis. They have been used to build interesting functional metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). However, salens interacting with amino acids have also found applications in receptors. Here, we intended to form a "green" glycine-derived salen fragment, but the available literature data were contradictory. Therefore, we optimized the synthetic conditions and obtained the desired product as two different crystallographic polymorphs (orthorhombic Pcca and monoclinic P21/c space groups). Their structures differ in conformation at the glycine moiety, and the monoclinic form contains additional, disordered water molecules. Despite the high stability of Schiff bases, these newly obtained compounds hydrolyze in aqueous media, the process being accelerated by metal cations. These studies, accompanied by mechanistic considerations and solid-state moisture and thermal analysis, clarify the structure and behavior of this amino acid Schiff base and shed new light on the role of water in its stability.

Keywords: conformation; glycine; hydrolysis; potassium complexes; salen; schiff-base.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Chelating Agents / chemistry
  • Coordination Complexes / chemistry
  • Glycine / chemistry*
  • Ligands
  • Schiff Bases / chemistry*
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Amino Acids
  • Chelating Agents
  • Coordination Complexes
  • Ligands
  • Schiff Bases
  • Water
  • Glycine