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The component of haemoglobin responsible for binding oxygen, consists of an iron ion that binds oxygen and a porphyrin ring that binds the globin molecules; one molecule binds one molecule of oxygen.
But until now the way in which haem iron was taken up in the gut had been unknown.
Haem is one of a group of similar compounds called porphyrins.
Binding of the Fe atom to the haem involves the 4 N of the pyrrole rings.
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