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Infectious agents must acquire iron from their host to survive, and iron deficiency has been reported to protect against malaria in humans. We have tested the the susceptibility of Plasmodium falciparum to iron deprivation by studying the effect of desferrioxamine (DF), a specific iron chelating agent, on parasite growth in an in vitro culture system. We have found that DF inhibits the growth of P. falciparum at concentrations readily achievable in vivo, by a mechanism that may involve interference with the completion of schizogony.