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Barbeau, K, Rue EL, Trick CG, Bruland KT, Butler A.  2003.  Photochemical reactivity of siderophores produced by marine heterotrophic bacteria and cyanobacteria based on characteristic Fe(III) binding groups. Limnology and Oceanography. 48:1069-1078. AbstractWebsite

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 alpha-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 alpha-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 alpha-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. alpha-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.

Barbeau, K, Zhang GP, Live DH, Butler A.  2002.  Petrobactin, a photoreactive siderophore produced by the oil-degrading marine bacterium Marinobacter hydrocarbonoclasticus. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 124:378-379.   10.1021/ja0119088   AbstractWebsite

Petrobactin is a bis-catecholate, α-hydroxy acid siderophore produced by the oil-degrading marine bacterium Marinobacter hydrocarbonoclasticus. The Fe(III)-complexed form of petrobactin is photoreactive in natural sunlight, mediated by the Fe(III)-citrate moiety. The reaction results in decarboxylation of the petrobactin ligand and reduction of Fe(III) to Fe(II). This report is one of the first to show the photoreactivity of Fe(III)-siderophores mediated by the ferric ion-α-hydroxy acid group. The demonstration of light-mediated decarboxylation of an Fe(III)-siderophore complex raises questions about a possible functional role for photoreactivity in siderophore-mediated iron uptake.

Barbeau, K, Rue EL, Bruland KW, Butler A.  2001.  Photochemical cycling of iron in the surface ocean mediated by microbial iron(III)-binding ligands. Nature. 413:409-413.   10.1038/35096545   AbstractWebsite

Iron is a limiting nutrient for primary production in large areas of the oceans(1-4). Dissolved iron(III) in the upper oceans occurs almost entirely in the form of complexes with strong organic ligands(5-7) presumed to be of biological origin(8,9). Although the importance of organic ligands to aquatic iron cycling is becoming clear, the mechanism by which they are involved in this process remains uncertain. Here we report observations of photochemical reactions involving Fe(III) bound to siderophores-high-affinity iron(III) ligands produced by bacteria to facilitate iron acquisition(10-12). We show that photolysis of Fe(III)-siderophore complexes leads to the formation of lower-affinity Fe(III) ligands and the reduction of Fe(III), increasing the availability of siderophore-bound iron for uptake by planktonic assemblages. These photochemical reactions are mediated by the alpha -hydroxy acid moiety, a group which has generally been found to be present in the marine siderophores that have been characterized(13-15). We suggest that Fe(III)-binding ligands can enhance the photolytic production of reactive iron species in the euphotic zone and so influence iron availability in aquatic systems.

Barbeau, K, Moffett JW.  2000.  Laboratory and field studies of colloidal iron oxide dissolution as mediated by phagotrophy and photolysis. Limnology and Oceanography. 45:827-835. AbstractWebsite

In a previous work, we have employed colloidal ferrihydrite impregnated with an inert radiotracer to probe the mechanistics of iron redox cycling in seawater via phagotrophic and photochemical processes. This paper reports further studies using the inert tracer technique, directed towards obtaining a more quantitative sense of the importance of phagotrophy relative to photolysis as a pathway for the production of bioavailable iron in oxygenated seawater. Our results indicate a maximal (i.e., near-surface at noon) rate of 12% per day for the photochemically-mediated dissolution of colloidal ferrihydrite. Protozoan-mediated dissolution of the same iron oxide phase proceeds at a rate ranging from 1-6% per day, depending on grazing turnover rates. Thus, while photolysis should dominate the redox cycling of refractory iron solids in near-surface waters under bright daytime conditions, phagotrophy is likely to be a more important process overall when the entire euphotic zone is considered on a time-averaged basis.