Effect of natural organic matter on iron uptake by the freshwater cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa

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Fujii, M, Dang, TC, Bligh, MW, Rose, AL & Waite, TD 2014, 'Effect of natural organic matter on iron uptake by the freshwater cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa', Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 48, no. 1, pp. 365-374.

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The mode of Fe uptake by the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa cultured in Fraquil* (pH 8) containing Suwannee River fulvic acid (SRFA) was examined using short-term radiolabeled 55Fe uptake assays and a kinetic model that describes extracellular Fe transformations. Both Fe(II) and Fe(III) uptake rates decreased substantially with increasing SRFA concentration as the availability of unchelated Fe decreased due to complexation by SRFA. Fe uptake rates under illuminated conditions were comparable to or slightly higher than those observed in the dark at the same Fe:SRFA concentration ratio, in contrast to results for systems containing ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid where Fe uptake rates were much greater under illumination than in the dark. The limited effect of light principally resulted from the relatively high rates of thermal dissociation and dark reduction of Fe(III) bound to SRFA and complexation of photogenerated Fe(II) by SRFA. Our findings imply that Fe uptake by M. aeruginosa at a fixed total Fe concentration of 200 nM is close to saturation when fulvic acid is present at concentrations near those typically found in natural waters (< ∼5 mg·L–1), with cellular growth likely to be limited by Fe availability only when natural organic matter is present at very high concentrations (>25 mg·L–1).