Development of a mugineic acid family phytosiderophore analog as an iron fertilizer

Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 10;12(1):1558. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21837-6.


Iron (Fe) is an essential nutrient, but is poorly bioavailable because of its low solubility in alkaline soils; this leads to reduced agricultural productivity. To overcome this problem, we first showed that the soil application of synthetic 2'-deoxymugineic acid, a natural phytosiderophore from the Poaceae, can recover Fe deficiency in rice grown in calcareous soil. However, the high cost and poor stability of synthetic 2'-deoxymugineic acid preclude its agricultural use. In this work, we develop a more stable and less expensive analog, proline-2'-deoxymugineic acid, and demonstrate its practical synthesis and transport of its Fe-chelated form across the plasma membrane by Fe(III)•2'-deoxymugineic acid transporters. Possibility of its use as an iron fertilizer on alkaline soils is supported by promotion of rice growth in a calcareous soil by soil application of metal free proline-2'-deoxymugineic acid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Azetidinecarboxylic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Azetidinecarboxylic Acid / chemistry
  • Fertilizers*
  • Iron / chemistry*
  • Siderophores / chemistry
  • Soil / chemistry


  • Fertilizers
  • Siderophores
  • Soil
  • Azetidinecarboxylic Acid
  • 2'-deoxymugineic acid
  • Iron
  • mugineic acid