This is an in-class exercise (brainstorming) designed to lead the student through the design of a siderophore (or "iron lover") by applying his knowledge of Lewis acid- base chemistry (specifically HSAB theory), geometry and entropy. This is a good start for a discussion of iron transport and storage in the bioinorganic section of Inorganic II (transition metals). I also use it in my junior level descriptive course when we discuss coordination chemistry.
The student should be able to apply his knowledge of Lewis acid base chemistry to predict good ligands for a transition metal ion in a given oxidation state. The student should be able to use his knowledge of preferred geometry, VSEPR to predict coordination number for a metal in a given oxidation state. The student should be able to apply his knowledge of entropic considerations to the "chelate effect"
I use this an an in-class discussion exercise at the introduction of Metal ion transport and storage. It provides a good review of Lewis acid-base chemistry (including HSAB) and VSEPR, as well as a discussion of the thermodynamic considerations. At the end of the exercise, I present the students with several real examples of siderophores, such as ferrioxamine B and enterobactin, along with their (extremely high) stability constants. This provides an excellent segue into the idea of how to release the iron that you've gone to so much trouble to accumulate.