Purple Bacteria Develops Its Own Form of "Sunscreen"

Scientific Achievement

Found that specific pigments in the light harvesting complex of a photosynthetic bacterium act primarily to protect the cell from damage by excess sunlight

Significance and Impact

May aid the design of both natural and artificial light harvesting systems to minimize deleterious effects of exposure to too much light energy

Research Details


The orange ring surrounding Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, is due to carotenoid molecules, produced by huge mats of algae and bacteria (Photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CarotenoidExternal link)

Reference: D. M. Niedzwiedzhi, M. Kobayashi, R. E. Blankenship, Triplet excited state spectra and dynamics of carotenoids from the thermophilic purple photosyntheticbacterium Thermochromatium tepidum, Photosynthesis Research, 107, 177-186 (2011) [DOI: 10.1007/s11120-011-9620-xExternal link].

Support: Work was performed at University of Washington University of St. Louis and supported by the Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center, an EFRC led by Robert Blankenship at Washington University in St. Louis.

Last modified: 3/27/2013 12:28:02 PM