Aquatic Geochemistry

, Volume 21, Issue 2–4, pp 159–195 | Cite as

Metallophores and Trace Metal Biogeochemistry

  • Stephan M. Kraemer
  • Owen W. Duckworth
  • James M. Harrington
  • Walter D. C. Schenkeveld
Original Paper

Abstract

Trace metal limitation not only affects the biological function of organisms, but also the health of ecosystems and the global cycling of elements. The enzymatic machinery of microbes helps to drive critical biogeochemical cycles at the macroscale, and in many cases, the function of metalloenzyme-mediated processes may be limited by the scarcity of essential trace metals. In response to these nutrient limitations, some organisms employ a strategy of exuding metallophores, biogenic ligands that facilitate the uptake of metal ions. For example, bacterial, fungal, and graminaceous plant species are known to use Fe(III)-binding siderophores for nutrient acquisition, providing the best known and most thoroughly studied example of metallophores. However, recent breakthroughs have suggested or established the role of metallophores in the uptake of several other metallic nutrients. Furthermore, these metallophores may influence environmental trace metal fate and transport beyond nutrient acquisition. These discoveries have resulted in a deeper understanding of trace metal geochemistry and its relationship to the cycling of carbon and nitrogen in natural systems. In this review, we provide an overview of the current state of knowledge on the biogeochemistry of metallophores in trace metal acquisition, and explore established and potential metallophore systems.

Keywords

Metallophore Siderophore Trace metals Nutrient uptake 

Notes

Acknowledgments

O.W.D. thanks the National Science Foundation Geobiology and Low-Temperature Geochemistry Program (EAR-0921313) and the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service (0223867 and 1001361) for support. SMK thanks the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): [P22798-B16] for support.

Supplementary material

10498_2014_9246_MOESM1_ESM.doc (72 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 72 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephan M. Kraemer
    • 1
  • Owen W. Duckworth
    • 2
  • James M. Harrington
    • 3
  • Walter D. C. Schenkeveld
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental GeosciencesUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of Soil ScienceNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  3. 3.Trace Inorganics Department, Technologies for Industry and the EnvironmentRTI InternationalDurhamUSA

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