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Biometals. 2013 Apr;26(2):271-83. doi: 10.1007/s10534-013-9609-3. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

Isolation and structural identification of the trihydroxamate siderophore vicibactin and its degradative products from Rhizobium leguminosarum ATCC 14479 bv. trifolii.

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  • 1Department of Health Sciences, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614, USA.


The Rhizobia are a group of free-living soil bacteria known for their ability to symbiotically infect the roots of specific host plants as well as to produce siderophores in order to compete with other microorganisms for the limited availability of iron in the rhizosphere. In this study, Rhizobium leguminosarum ATCC 14479, which preferentially infects the red clover Trifolium pratense, was found to produce the trihydroxamate siderophore vicibactin (C33H55N6O15) under iron restricted conditions. In addition, two other iron-binding, siderophore-like compounds: C20H36N4O10, C31H55N6O15, were isolated and purified from the culture media. Due to the structural similarity of the latter compounds to vicibactin based on electrospray-mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance data, these heretofore unreported molecules are thought to be either modified or degraded products of vicibactin. Although vicibactin has previously been found to be commonly produced by other rhizobial strains, this is the first time it has been chemically characterized from a clover infecting strain of R. leguminosarum.

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