Siderophore production in Azotobacter vinelandii in response to Fe-, Mo- and V-limitation

Darcy L. McRose, Oliver Baars, Francois M. M. Morel, Anne M.L. Kraepiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Azotobacter vinelandii is a terrestrial diazotroph well studied for its siderophore production capacity and its role as a model nitrogen fixer. In addition to Fe, A. vinelandii siderophores are used for the acquisition of the nitrogenase co-factors Mo and V. However, regulation of siderophore production by Mo- and V-limitation has been difficult to confirm and knowledge of the full suite of siderophores synthesized by this organism has only recently become available. Using this new information, we conducted an extensive study of siderophore production in N2-fixing A. vinelandii under a variety of trace metal conditions. Our results show that under Fe-limitation the production of all siderophores increases, while under Mo-limitation only catechol siderophore production is increased, with the strongest response seen in protochelin. We also find that the newly discovered A. vinelandii siderophore vibrioferrin is almost completely repressed under Mo- and V-limitation. An examination of the potential nitrogen ‘cost’ of siderophore production reveals that investments in siderophore N can represent as much as 35% of fixed N, with substantial differences between cultures using the Mo- as opposed to the less efficient V-nitrogenase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3595-3605
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Microbiology


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