Friday, 24 July 2020

How bacteria make plants green


An international team of scientists has constructed a model that reproduces a general feature of photosynthetic light harvesting, observed across many photosynthetic organisms.
Light harvesting is the collection of solar energy by protein-bound chlorophyll molecules. In photosynthesis -- the process by which green plants and some other organisms use sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water -- light energy harvesting begins with sunlight absorption.


When sunlight shining on a leaf changes rapidly, plants must protect themselves from the ensuing sudden surges of solar energy. To cope with these changes, photosynthetic organisms have developed numerous tactics. Scientists have been unable, however, to identify the underlying design principle. A physicist has now constructed a model that reproduces a general feature of photosynthetic light harvesting, observed across many photosynthetic organisms.

The researchers' model borrows ideas from the science of complex networks, a field of study that explores efficient operation in cellphone networks, brains, and the power grid. The model describes a simple network that is able to input light of two different colors, yet output a steady rate of solar power. This unusual choice of only two inputs has remarkable consequences.

See:

Trevor B. Arp et al. Quieting a noisy antenna reproduces photosynthetic light-harvesting spectra. Science, 2020 DOI: 10.1126/science.aba6630

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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