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Purple acid phosphatases (PAPs) are metalloenzymes that hydrolyse phosphate esters and anhydrides under acidic condition. In their oxidised form, PAPs in solution are purple in colour. This is due to the presence of a dinuclear iron centre, to which a tyrosine residue is connected via a charge transfer. This metallic centre is composed of Fe3+ and M, where M is Fe3+, Zn2+, Mg2+ or Mn2+. The conserved Fe3+ is stabilised in the ferric form, whereas M may undergo reduction. Upon treatment with mild reductants, PAPs are converted to their enzymatically active, pink form. Treatment with strong reducing agents dissociates the metallic ions, and renders the enzyme colourless and inactive.