Iron Uptake and Storage
Iron uptake and storage are important functions for any marine organism because iron is a vital nutrient that is often difficult to find. Many organisms use compounds known as siderophores to bind and reduce iron using chemical or photosynthetic processes. These compounds specifically bind iron and are then reabsorbed by the organism for storage and use. Ectocarpus instead of using specific molecules binds iron ions to the surface of its cells. This means that Ectocarpus maintains an iron coating at all times allowing for a constant amount of iron to be supplied to the cells regardless of the surrounding conditions.
The figure shows the iron coating of ectocarpus in picture A and the cell after being washed of iron in picture B.