A new chromium(III) compound [Cr(H2O)(OH)(C7H3NO4)](2), mu-dihydroxo-bis(2,6-pyridinedicarboxylato aquachromium(III)), has been successfully synthesized by the hydrothermal reaction of 2,6-pyridinedicarboxylic acid (H(2)pydc) and CrCl3 center dot 6H(2)O in the alkali medium. This metal complex was characterized by elemental analysis, IR spectroscopy, thermal analysis and single-crystal X-ray diffraction. The X-ray analysis showed that the structure is molecular and consists of units of two Cr(H2O)(OH)(C7H3NO4) groups linked through two OH groups. In the complex, each Cr centre is in a distorted octahedral environment, defined by two hydroxyl bridges, an aqua ligand and a tridentate pyridinedicarboxylate anion. The thermal stability and catalytic properties of the complex were also investigated. The complex affected the oxidation of thymol to thymoquinone with 100% selectivity and a conversion rate of 20.25%. (C) 2011 Elsevier B. V. All rights reserved.