In the continuous effort to identify selective chelators towards bioavailable and toxic metal ions, the potential selectivity of a novel N,O chelating ligand, recently synthesized and claimed to be able to bind to Cu(II) ions forming stable complexes while leaving unaltered the level of essential metal ions, was scrutinized using a combined theoretical and experimental approach. A multistep synthetic procedure was used to synthesize the ligand, whose chelating properties along with the stability of the complexes formed binding Cu(II) and, for comparison, Fe(III) ions were evaluated using potentiometric measurements and UV-Vis spectroscopy. DFT analysis allowed to disclose the structural characteristics of the formed complexes. In the plethora of all the possible structures, a selection of the most reliable ones was achieved by means of a stringent comparison between experimental and simulated UV-Vis spectra. The outcomes of the present investigation demonstrate that the Cu(II) sequestering ability of the ligand is smaller than that towards Fe(III). The strategy used here should allow to check the propensity of ligands in selectively binding metal ions.
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