Molecular modeling of metal complexation by a fluoroquinolone antibiotic

Ludmilla Aristilde*, Garrison Sposito

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


An understanding of the factors controlling the chemodynamics of fluoroquinolone antibiotics in different environmental matrices is a necessary prerequisite to the assessment of their potential impact on nontarget organisms in soils and receiving waters. Of particular interest are the complexes formed between fluoroquinolones and metal cations, which are believed to be important in the mechanism of sequestration of the antibiotic by minerals and natural organic matter. The structures of these complexes have not been fully resolved by conventional spectroscopy; therefore, molecular simulations may provide useful complementary insights. We present results from apparently the first molecular dynamics simulations of a widely used fluoroquinolone antibiotic, ciprofloxacin (Cipro), in aqueous complexes with five metal cations typically found in soils and surface waters: Ca2+, Mg2+, Fe 2+, Na+, and K+. The interatomic potential functions employed in the simulations were validated by comparison with available structural data for solid-phase Cipro-hexahydrate and for the metal cations in aqueous solution. Although no comprehensive structural data on the aqueous complexes appear to be available, properties of the metal complexes predicted by our simulations agree with available data for solid-phase metal-Cipro complexes. Our results indicate that the ionic potential of the metal cation controls the stability of the complex formed and that the hydration number of the metal cation in aqueous solution determines its coordination number with O atoms in the metal-Cipro complex. In respect to environmental chemodynamics, our results imply that Cipro will form two configurations of bidendate chelates with metal centers on exposed surfaces of mineral oxides, water-bridged surface complexes with exchangeable cations in clay mineral interlayers, and cation-bridged complexes with functional groups in natural organic matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2304-2310
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Cations
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Structure
  • Thermodynamics
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Chemistry


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