29/03/2011 · Published: March 29, 2011
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Photosynthesis forms the basis for primary production and fuels the formation of biomass with valuable chemical composition in plants. Although photosynthesis requires sunlight, the very nature of sunlight also has negative effects on photosynthesis. Visible light and ultraviolet light, the inherent parts of sunlight, may cause damage to the photosynthetic machinery and other cellular components. Plants have therefore evolved various protective and response mechanisms, which monitor the intensity, wavelength, duration and direction of light and mitigate the negative effects of light stress. Currently, the underlying molecular mechanisms and functional overlaps among light receptor and chloroplast signalling, and the consequent light‐dependent adjustments in plant performance are emerging. The ability to delicately sense, signal and respond to the ambient light environment forms a key contributor to plant growth and productivity.
The article was first published on 20 Dec 2011 Chem ..
But plants aren't the only organisms that use sunlight on Earth. Kiang studies various photosynthetic bacteria that have an entirely different set of pigments for absorbing light. She compares the spectra from these pigments to try to understand what mechanisms drive the evolution of the light harvesting ability.
Photosynthesis is a beautiful and deeply ..
The Biological Pigment Database contains spectral information for chlorophylls and bacteriochlorophylls, as well as for other accessory pigments that absorb light energy and transfer it to the main chlorophyll pigments responsible for photosynthesis. In addition, it includes biological sunscreen compounds that photosynthetic organisms produce to protect against excessive or harmful radiation, and carotenoids that serve the roles of both anti-oxidants and light harvesting pigments.
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Plants and algae use the energy absorbed by chlorophyll a to split water molecules. This splitting allows electrons from the water to be "donated" towards the reduction of carbon dioxide into carbohydrates (i.e. sugars). The byproduct of these reactions is oxygen, which is why the process is called oxygenic photosynthesis.