The biological occurrence and trafficking of cobalt

Sachi Okamoto, Lindsay D. Eltis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

133 Citations (Scopus)


Cobalt is an essential trace element in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Nevertheless, it occurs less frequently in metalloproteins than other transition metals. This low occurrence appears to be due to the metal's low abundance in nature as well as its competition with iron, whose biologically critical functions include respiration and photosynthesis. In this review, we discuss the biological role of cobalt, the major effects of cobalt on iron utilization, as well as several mechanisms that cells have developed to circumvent the toxicity of cobalt while still exploiting its chemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-970
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Metals and Alloys


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