Iron-nutrient interactions within phytoplankton

Hanan Schoffman, Hagar Lis, Yeala Shaked, Nir Keren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Iron limits photosynthetic activity in up to one third of the world’s oceans and in many fresh water environments. When studying the effects of Fe limitation on phytoplankton or their adaptation to low Fe environments, we must take into account the numerous cellular processes within which this micronutrient plays a central role. Due to its flexible redox chemistry, Fe is indispensable in enzymatic catalysis and electron transfer reactions and is therefore closely linked to the acquisition, assimilation and utilization of essential resources. Iron limitation will therefore influence a wide range of metabolic pathways within phytoplankton, most prominently photosynthesis. In this review, we map out four well-studied interactions between Fe and essential resources: nitrogen, manganese, copper and light. Data was compiled from both field and laboratory studies to shed light on larger scale questions such as the connection between metabolic pathways and ambient iron levels and the biogeographical distribution of phytoplankton species.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1223
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Issue numberAUG2016
StatePublished - 18 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Schoffman, Lis, Shaked and Keren.


  • Co-limitation
  • Iron
  • Limitation
  • Manganese
  • Nitrogen
  • Nutrient
  • Photosynthesis
  • Phytoplankton


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