In this study, two Schiff base ligands (HL 1 and HL 2) and their Cu(II), Co(II), Ni(II), Pd(II) and Ru(III) metal complexes were synthesized and characterized by the analytical and spectroscopic methods. Alkane oxidation activities of the metal complexes were studied on cyclohexane as substrate. The ligands and their metal complexes were evaluated for their antimicrobial activity against Corynebacterium xerosis, Bacillus brevis, Bacillus megaterium, Bacillus cereus, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Staphylococcus aureus, Micrococcus luteus and Enterococcus faecalis (as Gram-positive bacteria) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, Yersinia enterocolitica, Klebsiella fragilis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Candida albicans (as Gram-negative bacteria). The antioxidant properties of the Schiff base ligands were evaluated in a series of in vitro tests: 1,1-diphenyl-2- picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical scavenging and reducing power activity of superoxide anion radical generated non-enzymatic systems. Electrochemical and thermal properties of the compounds were investigated. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All Rights Reserved.