Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Ranjan Chakraborty

Thesis Professor Department

Health Sciences

Thesis Reader(s)

Jeff Wardeska


Vicibactin is a small, high-affinity iron chelator produced by Rhizobium leguminosarum ATCC 14479. Previous work has shown that vicibactin is produced and secreted from the cell to sequester ferric iron from the environment during iron-deplete conditions. This ferric iron is then transported into the cell to be converted into ferrous iron. This study uses UV-Vis spectroscopy as well as ion trap-time of flight mass spectroscopy to determine that vicibactin does form a complex with copper(II) ions, however, at a much lower affinity than for iron(III). Stability tests have shown that the copper(II)-vicibactin complex is stable over time. The results of this study show that vicibactin could be used in order to remove copper(II) ions from the soil or other media if they are present in toxic amounts. It also suggests that vicibactin’s purpose for the rhizobia could be expanded to include both copper sequestering and to reduce extracellular copper concentrations to prevent toxicity.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Withheld

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