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RE: Iron and red plants
> > Lack of red color
> > is often thought of as a iron deficiency.
> This is oft repeated. Is there any reason to believe it's true?
No. Red plants get their color from a non-photosynthetic pigment called
anthocyanin, which does not contain iron or any other metal. This
water-soluble pigment is present in the cytosol, not in the chloroplasts
like other plant pigments (e.g., chlorophyll, xanthophyll). Anthocyanin
strongly absorbs light in the UV region, and is thought to act as a
"sunscreen" for potentially-damaging UV radiation, as it is found in the
upper epidermis. Plant leaves have been shown to accumulate anthocyanin in
response to strong light.
Iron is an important component of several membrane-bound compounds in the
electron transport system of a chloroplast, (e.g., ferredoxin, cytochromes),
and an iron deficiency prevents the formation of chloroplasts (aka
chlorosis), not anthocyanin.