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Principles and Applications of Antimicrobial Nanomaterials
2022, 125-136

Microbial view of the periodic table

Joseph L. Graves Jr

Department of Biology, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC, United States.


The key elements found in living things are hydrogen (H), carbon (C), nitrogen (N), oxygen (O), phosphorous (P), and sulfur (S). These atoms combine to make the building blocks of living things (nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids). However micronutrients, many of which are metals, are also required, often serving as cofactors for enzymatic processes. Some metals are toxic, specifically due to their role in either oxidation/reduction or methylation. As essential metals are often rare, microbes (Bacteria, Archaea, and unicellular Eukaryotes) have developed sophisticated means to take them up from their environment. This chapter discusses iron uptake in bacteria and fungi.

Keywords: Periodic table, microbes, transition metals, redox reactions, essential micronutrients.

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