Properties and reactivity of µ-nitrido bridged dimetal porphyrinoid complexes. How does ruthenium compare to iron?

Muhammad Qadri Effendy Bin Mubarak, A B Sorokin, Samuel De Visser

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Methane hydroxylation by metal-oxo oxidants is one of the Holy Grails in biomimetic and biotechnological chemistry. The only enzymes known to perform this reaction in Nature are iron containing soluble methane monooxygenase and copper-containing particulate methane monooxygenase. Furthermore, few biomimetic iron-containing oxidants have been designed that can hydroxylate methane efficiently. Recent studies reported that µ-nitrido bridged diiron(IV)-oxo porphyrin and phthalocyanine complexes hydroxylate methane to methanol efficiently. To find out whether the reaction rates are enhanced by replacing iron by ruthenium we performed a detailed computational study. Our work shows that the µ-nitrido bridged diruthenium(IV)-oxo reacts with methane via hydrogen atom abstraction barriers that are considerably lower in energy (by about 5 kcal mol‒1) as compared to the analogous diiron(IV)-oxo complex. An analysis of the electronic structure implicates similar spin and charge distributions for the diiron(IV)-oxo and diruthenium(IV)-oxo complexes, but the strength of the O‒H bond formed during the reaction is much stronger for the latter. As such a larger hydrogen atom abstraction driving force for the Ru complex than for the Fe complex is found, which should result in higher reactivity in the oxidation of methane.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
Early online date27 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • biomimetic models
  • methane oxidation
  • u-nitridio complexes
  • high-valent oxo species
  • phthalocyanine
  • Porphyrin


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