New manganese(II) and manganese(III) complexes of substituted N,N′-bis(salicylidene)-1,2-diimino-2-methylethane have been prepared and characterized. Elemental analysis, IR and EPR spectroscopies, mass spectrometry, magnetic measurements and the study of their redox properties have confirmed their respective formulae as MnIIL(H2O)2 and MnIIIL(H2O)n(ClO4). Electron-withdrawing substituents on the phenyl rings of the ligand stabilize the oxidation state (II) for manganese, but the electron-donating substituents on the Schiff bases are those that lead to Mn(III) complexes, which behave as efficient peroxidase mimics in the presence of the water-soluble trap ABTS. The rate of peroxidase activity of the present complexes is significantly higher than that of other series of Mn-Schiff base compounds, probably due to their versatility in adopting in solution a structure that allows the coordination of the hydrogen peroxide substrate molecule to the manganese.
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