Clinical isolates of Yersinia enterocolitca, which belong to mouse-lethal serotypes, produce the siderophore yersiniophore. Siderophore production was shown to be iron regulated and to reach maximum production in late log phase. Yersiniophore is a fluorescent siderophore with maximum excitation at 270 nm and a major emission peak at 428 nm. Absorption maxima were seen at 210 and 250 nm with a low broad peak from 280 to 320 nm. Purification of unchelated yersiniophore for structural analysis was made difficult by low yields (1-2 mg mg-1), and susceptibility to acid hydrolysis, oxidation and possibly polymerization. Yersinophore was therefore purified as an Al3+ chelate, which was found to be stable in solution for several weeks. To purify Al(3+)-yersinophore, unchelated yersiniophore was first extracted from culture supernatants with dichloromethane, concentrated by rotary evaporation and adsorbed to a DEAE-sephacel column. Al(3+)-yersiniophore was eluted with 0.01 M AlCl3 and further purified by HPLC. The structure was established by a combination of elemental analysis, high resolution mass spectrometry and two-dimensional NMR experiments. Yersiniophore is a phenolate-thiazole siderophore with the formula C21H24N3O4S3Al and a molecular weight of 505.07404 when chelated to Al3+. The structure of yersiniophore was determined to be closely related to the structures of pyochelin, produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and anguibactin, produced by Vibrio anguillarum.