Photochemical reactivity of siderophores produced by marine heterotrophic bacteria and cyanobacteria, based on characteristic Fe(III) binding groups

Barbeau, Katherine, Eden L. Rue, Charles G. Trick, Kenneth W. Bruland, Alison Butler

Limnol. Oceanogr., 48(3), 2003, 1069-1078 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2003.48.3.1069

ABSTRACT: Siderophores, high-affinity Fe(III) ligands produced by microorganisms to facilitate iron acquisition, might contribute significantly to dissolved Fe(III) complexation in ocean surface waters. In previous work, we demonstrated the photoreactivity of the ferric ion complexes of several α-hydroxy carboxylic acid-containing siderophores produced by heterotrophic marine bacteria. Here, we expand on our earlier studies and detail the photoreactivity of additional siderophores produced by both heterotrophic marine bacteria and marine cyanobacteria, making comparisons to synthetic and terrestrial siderophores that lack the α-hydroxy carboxylate group. Our results suggest that, in addition to secondary photochemical reaction pathways involving reactive oxygen species, direct photolysis of Fe(III)-siderophore complexes might be a significant source of Fe(II) and reactive Fe(III) in ocean surface waters. Our findings further indicate that the photoreactivity of siderophores is primarily determined by the chemical structure of the Fe(III) binding groups that they possess—hydroxamate, catecholate, or α-hydroxy carboxylate moieties. Hydroxamate groups are photochemically resistant regardless of Fe(III) complexation. Catecholates, in contrast, are susceptible to photooxidation in the uncomplexed form but stabilized against photooxidation when ferrated. α-Hydroxy carboxylate groups are stable as the uncomplexed acid, but when coordinated to Fe(III), these moieties undergo light-induced ligand oxidation and reduction of Fe(III) to Fe(II). These photochemical properties appear to determine the reactivity and fate of Fe(III)-binding siderophores in ocean surface waters, which in turn might significantly influence the biogeochemical cycling of iron.

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