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Iron (Fe) is a shiny, silver-white, easily corroded metal. Iron can exist as eight isotopes, four stable, one long-lived (~1.5 million years), and three short-lived. Iron was known to early people and its name is from Anglo-Saxon. It is the most common metal in our culture. It is never found in its pure form. Iron is used in steel making. It is one of the few elements which is magnetic. Iron is a universal component of plant life. Trees use iron in a myriad of tasks. Iron is stored in trees as ferritin, an iron complex protein. Iron is used in a tree in heme and iron-sulfur proteins which utilize the reversible energy states of iron. The heme groups play an important part in attracting damaging oxygen radicals, especially in photorespiration and when the tree is under anaerobic conditions. The iron-sulfur proteins are used throughout the tree in electron transport chains. Deficiency symptoms can quickly occur physiologically downstream from any iron using point.

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Community and Urban Forestry
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