Standard Article

Iron in Plants

  1. Thomas J Buckhout1,
  2. Wolfgang Schmidt2

Published Online: 20 SEP 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0023713

eLS

eLS

How to Cite

Buckhout, T. J. and Schmidt, W. 2013. Iron in Plants. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Humboldt University, Institute of Applied Botany, Berlin, Germany

  2. 2

    Academia Sinica, Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 SEP 2013

Abstract

Iron (Fe) is a universal nutritional requirement for virtually all organisms, functional as an electron carrier in respiration and photosynthesis, in the production and detoxification of oxygen radicals, oxygen transport and numerous reduction and monooxygenase reactions. Depending on the redox potential of the environment, Fe occurs in two stable oxidation states, Fe3+ and Fe2+ that differ dramatically in their solubility in water. Plants have evolved two distinct, phylogenetically separate mechanisms driven by an increasing abundance of photosynthesis-derived atmospheric oxygen, which makes Fe unavailable due to the formation of highly insoluble ferric oxides. Excess Fe is toxic to cells. Therefore, cellular Fe concentrations are tightly regulated by sophisticated mechanisms that control acquisition, distribution and utilisation of Fe. A large proportion of the world's arable land has soil properties that do not allow the uptake of sufficient Fe for optimal plant growth and yield, making an understanding of the mechanisms that control cellular homoeostasis mandatory for the development of Fe-efficient germplasms.

Key Concepts:

  • With only few exceptions Fe is a universal nutritional requirement by all organisms.

  • Iron occurs in two stable oxidation states, Fe3+ and Fe2+, that differ dramatically in their solubility in water.

  • A large proportion of the world's arable land has soil properties that do not allow the uptake of sufficient Fe for optimal plant growth and yield.

  • Plants have evolved two distinct, phylogenetically separated mechanisms for Fe uptake.

  • The evolution of Fe uptake mechanisms is likely driven by the increasing concentration of photosynthesis-derived atmospheric oxygen.

  • Cellular Fe concentrations are tightly regulated by sophisticated mechanisms that control acquisition, distribution and utilisation of Fe.

  • The primary sensor for Fe deficiency has yet to be identified.

Keywords:

  • iron acquisition;
  • iron homoeostasis;
  • iron anaemia;
  • malnutrition;
  • rhizosphere;
  • chelators;
  • metalloproteins