Nearly all life forms require iron and organisms have developed different approaches to acquire this crucial metal. Microorganisms utilize a number of mechanisms, including the production of siderophores, which are organic compounds that combine with ferric iron into forms that are easily absorbed by the siderophore producer. There has been significant experimental investigation into the role, distribution and function of siderophores in fungi but until now no predictive tools have been developed to qualify or quantify fungi initiated siderophore-iron interactions. In this investigation we construct the first mathematical models of siderophore function related to fungi. In the first model a set of partial differential equations are calibrated and integrated numerically to generate quantitative predictions on the spatio-temporal distributions of siderophores and related populations. This model is then reduced to a simpler set of partial differential equations that are solved algebraically giving rise to analytical solutions that predict the distributions of siderophores and resultant compounds.These algebraic results require the calculation of zeros of cross products of Bessel functions and thus new algebraic expansions are derived for a variety of different cases and which are in agreement with numerically computed values. The results of the modelling are consistent with experimental data and also provide quantitative predictions on the time scales involved between siderophore production and iron uptake along with how the total amount of iron acquired by the fungus depends on the environment in which it is growing with direct implications to bio-technological applications.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages36
JournalMathematical Medicine and Biology
Early online date14 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jul 2020

    Research areas

  • mathematical model, partial differential equations, numerical solution, ferric iron uptake

ID: 3324996