What are siderophores?

Siderophores are ferric specific microbial chelators which are excreted under iron-deficient conditions and are utilized by bacteria and fungi to collect iron(III) from the environment. Although iron is essential for virtually all organisms it is very insoluble at neutral pH. Microbes and some grass plants are able to synthesize siderophores to overcome iron deficiencies. In the lab you can grow pure microbial cultures under iron limiting conditions to produce siderophores in larger amounts. We know how to isolate, purify and characterize siderophores due to a long experience in this field.