In higher plants, different strategies exist for the acquisition of micronutrients (incl. the essential elements Fe, Cu, Zn). The understanding of such strategies is of paramount importance for plant nutrition, but also for human nutrition. Many of the genetic factors, which regulate the respective processes, have been identified already, and also some knowledge exists on transport proteins in plants. However, nearly nothing is known up to now about the chemical binding of metals to small molecules ('metabolic' information), and intracellular distribution of such metal species in plants.
The aim of this project is the development of analytical methods for separation, identification and quantitation of small metal species in plant compartments, in order to understand on a molecular level the mechanism(s) of metal uptake and translocation in the plant, and relate it to the respective genotype and biological (nutritional) status of the plant.