Study of doubly charged alkaline earth metal and 3-azidopropionitrile complexes by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry

Narciso Couto, M. João Ramos, M. Tereza Fernandez, Paula Rodrigues, M. Teresa Barros, M. Lourdes Costa, Benedito J. Costa Cabral, M. Filomena Duarte

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8 Citations (Scopus)


The present work describes a study of the complexation of calcium and magnesium by 3-azidopropionitrile by means of electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). Complexes were obtained from solutions of calcium and magnesium salts of the type CaX 2 and MgX 2 (where X = Cl or NO 3 ) in water and methanol/water. The complexes detected were mainly double positively charged, with various stoichiometrics not depending on the solvent, since water and 3-azidopropionitrile were always the main ligands. Solvation with methanol was not observed unlike in a previous study of complexation of nickel and cobalt by 3-azidopropionitrile. The complex ions [M(II)Az 4 (H 2 O)] 2+ , [M(II)Az 5 ] 2+ (where M = Ca and Mg) are the most abundant for both metals, and both counter ions. Tandem mass spectrometric (MS/MS) analysis showed that, under collision-induced dissociation (CID) conditions, the most important processes occurring were loss of neutral ligands and the replacement of 3-azidopropionitrile by water. A complex species containing reduced alkaline earth metal was due to radical loss, resulting from homolytic cleavage in the azide ligand. Some terminal ions, in the fragmentation sequences, point to the nitrile group as the coordination site in the 3-azidopropionitrile. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations confirmed this coordination site and proved that 3-azidopropionitrile behaves as a monodentate ligand in the systems under study. Moreover, the theoretical study proved that the presence of water ligand introduces stability through a hydrogen bond established between the water molecule and one nitrogen atom of the azido group. In addition, the strong dipole moment of 3-azidopropionitrile (4.76 D), which is mainly related to presence of the nitrile group, favors the stabilization of the metal-ligand complexes through charge-dipole interactions and the coordination of the metal to the nitrile group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-590
Number of pages9
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


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