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Significant production of superoxide, a known reductant of both inorganic and organically complexed iron(III), occurs in natural systems by both biotic and abiotic pathways. We have investigated the generation of superoxide by Chattonella marina (Subrahman.) Y. Hara et Chihara, a phytoplankton taxon known to produce high levels of this reactive oxygen species, and examined the role of superoxide in the acquisition of iron by this organism. Additionally, a generalized model for iron acquisition by C. marina has been developed, which includes three pathways of iron acquisition from organically complexed iron(III): nondissociative reductive uptake, dissociative reductive uptake, and nonreductive dissociative uptake. The model is shown to be particularly useful in ascertaining the relative importance of these various iron-uptake pathways as a function of solution parameters including concentration and iron-binding strength of the organic ligand and superoxide concentration. Our results suggest that superoxide can participate in the C. marina iron-uptake process when iron is complexed to weak ligands, such as citrate, but plays only a minor role when iron is bound to a strong ligand. It thus appears that facilitation of iron acquisition is not the sole purpose of superoxide production by these organisms.