Dr Janneke Balk

Project Leader
Biological Chemistry

Janneke’s research explores the uptake, transport, use and storage of iron within plants and microbes. Genetic and biochemical studies aim to dissect the mechanisms for iron sensing and regulation.

She also investigates the transport of iron within root nodules for nitrogen fixation.  Recent work demonstrated a successful strategy for biofortification of wheat with iron.

  • Iron transport and uptake in plants and microbes
  • Protein binding of iron and iron-sulphur clusters
  • Biofortification of wheat with iron


This research has implications for the uptake of iron within root nodules and the subsequent nitrogen assimilation.

Janneke’s recent research has demonstrated the capabilities for biofortification of wheat with iron.

Plants are the main route of iron from the soil into the food chain. Understanding the mechanisms of iron transport, use in enzymes and storage helps us to improve the iron content of crops (biofortification).

Mistletoe mystery - something’s missing from the kissing plant

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Pumping Iron – Biofortified wheat produces white flour with extra iron

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Blog: Janneke Balk shadows MEP Vicky Ford at the European Parliament

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Four billion-year-old chemistry in cells today

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Recent Publications

Bastow E. L., Garcia de la Torre V. S., Maclean A. E., Green R. T., Merlot S., Thomine S., Balk J. (2018)

Vacuolar iron stores gated by NRAMP3 and NRAMP4 are the primary source of iron in germinating seeds

Plant Physiology TBC pTBC

Publisher’s version: 10.1101/306894

Moore K. L., Rodriguez-Ramiro I., Jones E. R., Jones E. J., Rodriguez-Celma J., Halsey K., Domoney C., Shewry P. R., Fairweather-Tait S., Balk J. (2018)

The stage of seed development influences iron bioavailability in pea (Pisum sativum L.)

Scientific Reports 8 p6865

Publisher’s version: 0.1038/s41598-018-25130-3

Connorton J. M., Jones E. R., Rodriguez-Ramiro I., Fairweather-Tait S., Uauy C., Balk J. (2017)

Vacuolar Iron Transporter TaVIT2 transports Fe and Mn and is effective for biofortification.

Plant Physiology TBC pTBC

Publisher’s version: 10.1104/pp.17.00672

Connorton J. M., Balk J., Rodríguez-Celma J. (2017)

Iron homeostasis in plants - a brief overview.

Metallomics : integrated biometal science TBC pTBC

Publisher’s version: 10.1039/c7mt00136c

Bastow E. L., Bych K., Crack J. C., Le Brun N., Balk J. (2016)

NBP35 interacts with DRE2 in the maturation of cytosolic iron-sulfur proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Plant Journal 89 p590-600

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/tpj.13409

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