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).

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

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

Schaedler T. A., Faust B., Shintre C. A., Carpenter E. P., Srinivasan V., van Veen H. W., Balk J. (2015)

Structures and functions of mitochondrial ABC transporters.

Biochemical Society Transactions 43 p943-51

Publisher’s version: 10.1042/BST20150118

Ozer H. K., Dlouhy A. C., Thornton J. D., Hu J., Liu Y., Barycki J. J., Balk J., Outten C. E. (2015)

Cytosolic Fe-S Cluster Protein Maturation and Iron Regulation Are Independent of the Mitochondrial Erv1/Mia40 Import System.

Journal of Biological Chemistry 290 p2782927840

Publisher’s version: 10.1074/jbc.M115.682179

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