Two series of ten chalcones and ten aurones, where ferrocene replaces the C ring and with diverse substituents on the A ring were synthesized. The compounds were tested against two antibiotic-sensitive bacterial strains, E. coli ATCC 25922 and S. aureus ATCC 25923, and two antibiotic-resistant strains, S. aureus SA-1199B and S. epidermidis IPF896. The unsubstituted compound and those with methoxy substitution showed an inhibitory effect on all bacterial strains at minimum inhibitory concentrations ranging between 2 and 32 mg L−1. For four of these compounds, the effect was bactericidal, as opposed to bacteriostatic. The corresponding organic aurones did not show growth inhibition, underscoring the role of the ferrocene group. The methoxy-substituted aurones and the unsubstituted aurone also showed low micromolar (IC50) activity against MRC-5 non-tumoral lung cells and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, suggesting non-specific toxicity.
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