Next Article in Journal
Identification of Cyanobacterial Strains with Potential for the Treatment of Obesity-Related Co-Morbidities by Bioactivity, Toxicity Evaluation and Metabolite Profiling
Previous Article in Journal
Mitochondrial Function, Mobility and Lifespan Are Improved in Drosophila melanogaster by Extracts of 9-cis-β-Carotene from Dunaliella salina
Previous Article in Special Issue
Solid Matrix-Supported Supercritical CO2 Enhances Extraction of γ-Linolenic Acid from the Cyanobacterium Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis and Bioactivity Evaluation of the Molecule in Zebrafish
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview

Cyanobacterial Siderophores—Physiology, Structure, Biosynthesis, and Applications

Department of Biotechnology, PhotoSynLab, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(5), 281;
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Compounds from Cyanobacteria II)
PDF [2723 KB, uploaded 17 May 2019]


Siderophores are low-molecular-weight metal chelators that function in microbial iron uptake. As iron limits primary productivity in many environments, siderophores are of great ecological importance. Additionally, their metal binding properties have attracted interest for uses in medicine and bioremediation. Here, we review the current state of knowledge concerning the siderophores produced by cyanobacteria. We give an overview of all cyanobacterial species with known siderophore production, finding siderophores produced in all but the most basal clades, and in a wide variety of environments. We explore what is known about the structure, biosynthesis, and cycling of the cyanobacterial siderophores that have been characterized: Synechobactin, schizokinen and anachelin. We also highlight alternative siderophore functionality and technological potential, finding allelopathic effects on competing phytoplankton and likely roles in limiting heavy-metal toxicity. Methodological improvements in siderophore characterization and detection are briefly described. Since most known cyanobacterial siderophores have not been structurally characterized, the application of mass spectrometry techniques will likely reveal a breadth of variation within these important molecules. View Full-Text
Keywords: cyanobacteria; siderophore; anachelin; synechobactin; schizokinen; Synechococcus; Anabaena cyanobacteria; siderophore; anachelin; synechobactin; schizokinen; Synechococcus; Anabaena

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Årstøl, E.; Hohmann-Marriott, M.F. Cyanobacterial Siderophores—Physiology, Structure, Biosynthesis, and Applications. Mar. Drugs 2019, 17, 281.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Mar. Drugs EISSN 1660-3397 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top