A colorimetric method for measuring iron content in plants

Jonas C. Gitz, Noy Sadot, Michele Zaccai, Raz Zarivach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Iron, one of the most important micronutrients in living organisms, is involved in basic processes, such as respiration and photosynthesis. Iron content is rather low in all organisms, amounting in plants to about 0.009% of dry weight. To date, one of the most accurate methods for measuring iron concentration in plant tissues is flame absorption atomic spectroscopy. However, this approach is time-consuming and expensive and requires specific equipment not commonly found in plant laboratories. Therefore, a simpler, yet accurate method that can be routinely used is needed. The colorimetric Prussian Blue method is regularly used for qualitative iron staining in animal and plant histological sections. In this study, we adapted the Prussian Blue method for quantitative measurements of iron in tobacco leaves. We validated the accuracy of this method using both atomic spectroscopy and Prussian Blue staining to measure iron content in the same samples and found a linear regression (R2 = 0.988) between the two procedures. We conclude that the Prussian Blue method for quantitative iron measurement in plant tissues is precise, simple, and inexpensive. However, the linear regression presented here may not be appropriate for other plant species, due to potential interactions between the sample and the reagent. Establishment of a regression curve is thus needed for different plant species.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere57408
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number139
StatePublished - 7 Sep 2018


  • Biochemistry
  • Colorimetry
  • Iron
  • Issue 139
  • Mass spectroscopy
  • Plants
  • Prussian blue
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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