In this study, four mononuclear M(II)-pyridine-2,5-dicarboxylate (M=Co(II), Ni(II), Cu(II) and Zn(II) complexes with pyridine-2,5-dicarboxylic acid or isocinchomeronic acid, 1,10-phenanthroline (phen), [Co(Hpydc)(2)(phen)]center dot H2O (1), [Ni(pydc)(phen)(2)]center dot 6.5H(2)O (2) [Cu(pydc)(phen)(H2O)(2)] (3) and [Zn(pydc)(phen)(H2O)(2)]center dot H2O (4) have been synthesized. Elemental, thermal and mass analyses, molar conductance, magnetic susceptibilities, IR and UV/vis spectroscopic studies have been performed to characterize the complexes. Subsequently, these ligands and complexes were tested for antimicrobial activity by disc diffusion method on Gram positive, negative bacteria and yeast. In addition, cytotoxic activity tests were performed on rat glioma (C6) cells by mu viability assay for 24 and 48 h. Antimicrobial activity results demonstrated that when compared to the standard antibiotics, phen displayed the most effective antimicrobial effect. The effect of synthesized complexes was close to phen or less. Cytotoxic activity results showed that IC50 value of phen was determined as 31 mu M for 48 h. (1) and (2) compared to the alone ligand had less toxic activity. IC50 values of (3) for 24 and 48 h treatments were 2.5 and 0.6 mu M, respectively. IC50 value of (4) for 48 h was 15 mu M. In conclusion, phen, (3) and (4) may be useful as antibacterial and antiproliferative agents in the future. (C) 2013 ElseVier GmbH. All rights reserved.