Redox reactions of phenazine antibiotics with ferric (Hydr)oxides and molecular oxygen

Yun Wang, Dianne K. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


Phenazines are small redox-active molecules produced by a variety of bacteria. Beyond merely serving as antibiotics, recent studies suggest that phenazines play important physiological roles, including one in iron acquisition. Here we characterize the ability of four electrochemically reduced natural phenazines - pyocyanin (PYO), phenazine-1-carboxylate (PCA), phenazine-1-carboxamide, and 1-hydroxyphenazine (1-OHPHZ) - to reductively dissolve ferrihydrite and hematite in the pH range 5-8. Generally, the reaction rate is higher for a phenazine with a lower reduction potential, with the reaction between PYO and ferrihydrite at pH 5 being an exception; the rate decreases as the pH increases; the rate is higher for poorly crystalline ferrihydrite than for highly crystalline hematite. Ferric (hydr)oxide reduction by reduced phenazines can potentially be inhibited by oxygen, where O 2 competes with Fe(III) as the final oxidant. The reactivity of reduced phenazines with O2 decreases in the order: PYO > 1-OHPHZ > PCA. Strikingly, reduced PYO, which is the least reactive phenazine with ferrihydrite and hematite at pH 7, is the most reactive phenazine with O 2. These results imply that different phenazines may perform different functions in environments with gradients of iron and O2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2380-2386
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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