Siderophores as molecular tools in medical and environmental applications.
Almost all life forms depend on iron as an essential micronutrient that is needed for electron transport and metabolic processes. Siderophores are low-molecular-weight iron chelators that safeguard the supply of this important metal to bacteria, fungi and graminaceous plants. Although animals and the majority of plants do not utilise siderophores and have alternative means of iron acquisition, siderophores have found important clinical and agricultural applications. In this review, we will highlight the different uses of these iron-chelating molecules.