Roussin's black salt

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Roussin's Black Salt
Roussins black salt.svg
Roussins black salt from crystallographic coordinates.tif
Other names
Sodium heptanitrosyltri-μ3-thiotetraferrate
Molar mass 552.67 g/mol
Appearance Black needles
Melting point 198 to 200 °C (388 to 392 °F; 471 to 473 K)
Related compounds
Roussin's Red Salt
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Roussin's black salt is a chemical compound with the formula NaFe4S3(NO)7 first described by Zacharie Roussin.[1] It consists of the sodium salt of the [Fe4S3(NO)7] anion and is classified as metal nitrosyl compound. The cluster anion has the geometry of an incomplete cubane with C3v symmetry. The dark colour of the complex is attributed to a number of charge-transfer interactions.[2]


Roussin’s Black Salt is produced by the reaction of nitrous acid, potassium hydroxide, potassium sulfide, and iron(II) sulfate in aqueous solution.[3] It can also be formed by the conversion of Roussin's Red Salt in mildly acidic conditions. This reaction is reversible and Roussin’s Red Salt is reformed upon alkalization of the reaction solution.


Roussin’s Black Salt is a nitric oxide donor. The nitric oxide donated by Roussin’s Black Salt has proven to be toxic to some melanoma cancer cells.[4] Also, Roussin’s Black Salt exhibits antibacterial activity in some food processing applications.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Butler, Anthony R. (July 1982). "The chemist Z. Roussin (1827-94)". Journal of Chemical Education 59 (7): 549. doi:10.1021/ed059p549. 
  2. ^ Jaworska, Maria; Stasicka, Zofia (March 2006). "Structure and UV–vis spectroscopy of roussin black salt [Fe4S3(NO)7]−". Journal of Molecular Structure 785 (1-3): 68–75. doi:10.1016/j.molstruc.2005.09.030. 
  3. ^ Marchlewski, L.; Sachs, J. (1892). "Studien über ROUSINS Salz". Zeitschrift für anorganische Chemie 2 (1): 175–181. doi:10.1002/zaac.18920020117. 
  4. ^ Janczyk, Agnieszka; Wolnicka-Glubisz, Agnieszka; Chmura, Antonina; Elas, Martyna; Matuszak, Zenon; Stochel, Grazyna; Urbanska, Krystyna (February 2004). "NO-dependent phototoxicity of Roussin’s black salt against cancer cells". Nitric Oxide 10 (1): 42–50. doi:10.1016/j.niox.2004.01.009. 
  5. ^ Greenwood, N.N.; Earnshaw, A. (2006). Chemistry of the elements (2nd ed.). Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 0-7506-3365-4.