HPLC analysis revealed that Yersinia enterocolitica WA-C produced two substances under iron-limiting conditions one of which was identified as 2,3-dihydroxybenzoyl-L-serine. The other compound had iron-complexing activity and was called yersiniabactin. The fur mutant H1852 was shown to produce yersiniabactin constitutively in an iron-independent manner. Yersiniabactin was isolated by ethyl acetate extraction from the spent medium of H1852, size-fractionation chromatography and preparative HPLC. A catechol function was demonstrated with different chemical assays and by UV-visible spectroscopy. The molecular mass of yersiniabactin was determined to be 482 Da. Purified yersiniabactin stimulated growth of Y. enterocolitica and Escherichia coli phi under iron-limiting conditions and apparently served as an iron carrier. Transport of 55Fe-yersiniabactin was TonB-dependent, indicating a receptor-mediated uptake across the outer membrane. A pesticin-resistant mutant missing the receptor protein FyuA was unable to transport and use yersiniabactin as a siderophore.