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The Microbiology of Ruthenium Complexes

Southam, HM and Butler, JA and Chapman, JA and Poole, RK (2017) The Microbiology of Ruthenium Complexes. In: Advances in Microbial Physiology. Elsevier, pp. 1-96. ISBN 9780128123850

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Abstract

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. Ruthenium is seldom mentioned in microbiology texts, due to the fact that this metal has no known, essential roles in biological systems, nor is it generally considered toxic. Since the fortuitous discovery of cisplatin, first as an antimicrobial agent and then later employed widely as an anticancer agent, complexes of other platinum group metals, such as ruthenium, have attracted interest for their medicinal properties. Here, we review at length how ruthenium complexes have been investigated as potential antimicrobial, antiparasitic and chemotherapeutic agents, in addition to their long and well-established roles as biological stains and inhibitors of calcium channels. Ruthenium complexes are also employed in a surprising number of biotechnological roles. It is in the employment of ruthenium complexes as antimicrobial agents and alternatives or adjuvants to more traditional antibiotics, that we expect to see the most striking developments in the future. Such novel contributions from organometallic chemistry are undoubtedly sorely needed to address the antimicrobial resistance crisis and the slow appearance on the market of new antibiotics.

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