New iron transporter discovered in cereal-associated bacteria

Bacterial gramibactin provides plants with vital element

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Jena. A research team from Jena has discovered a new siderophore ("iron carrier"). The molecule called gramibactin is produced by bacteria that live in the root area of maize and wheat. It binds to iron from the environment that is otherwise mostly insoluble in water and targets it into the bacterial metabolism. The grain plants benefit from this because they can absorb the iron that is mobilised by the bacteria and form more chlorophyll. Gramibactin binds iron in a way not previously observed in nature. The study is published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology and highlights the complex interaction of the root microbiome with the host plant and its implications for future food security.