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Photosynthesis: Chlorophylls and accessory pigments

We don't know what pigments an alien photosynthesizer might use, but Kiang thinks the molecules may not be all that unfamiliar to us. She says biophysicists have studied the criteria for a good photosynthetic molecule, and their analysis seems to suggest that these pigments may converge towards specific designs.

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.

 [IMAGE] There are two types of photosynthetic pigments; primary and accessory pigments.

Accessory pigment - Biology-Online Dictionary

Some plants and plantlike organisms have developed other pigments to compensate for low light or poor use of light. Cyanobacteria and red algae have phycocyanin and allophycocyanin as accessory pigments to absorbe orange light. They also have a red pigment called phycoerythrin that absorbs green light and extends the range of photosynthesis. The red pigment is found in vegetables. Some red algae are in fact nearly black, so that increases their photosynthetic efficiency. Brown algae have the pigment fucoxanthin in addition to chlorophyll to widen their absorption range. These red and brown algae grow to depths around 270 meters where the light is less than 1% of surface light.

Current understanding is that the earliest photosynthetic organisms were aquatic bacteria, some of which are still around today. One of these, halobacterium halobium, grows in extremely salty water. It makes use of the bacteriorhodopsin pigment. The chlorophyll system developed to use the available light, as if it developed in strata below the purple bacteria and had to use what it could get.

What Is the Role of Pigments in Photosynthesis

Plants and other photosynthetic organisms use special molecules for absorbing light. These pigments have a distinctive color, or spectrum, that is known to leave an imprint on the light reflected off our planet's surface. A new database catalogues the diverse palette of light-absorbing biological molecules on Earth in order to better predict what the photosynthetic signature might look like on other planets.

Life on our planet has adapted to the light from our Sun. Plant photosynthetic pigments, for example, use the Sun's abundant visible light — most strongly absorbing in the blue and red part of the spectrum, which is why they appear green in reflected light.

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What Four Accessory Pigments Are Necessary for Photosynthesis to ..


PPT – Photosynthetic pigments: PowerPoint …

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.

Accessory Pigments -- Driving Question - YouTube

What this tells us is that photosynthesis is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and the pigments used on a different planet will likely be adapted to local conditions. To help imagine what these alien pigments might be, Kiang has started the Biological Pigments Database. This contributes a biological component to the NASA Astrobiology Institute Virtual Planetary Laboratory’s Spectral Database, which brings together stellar radiation spectra, molecular line lists for atmospheric radiative transfer, and now biological pigments.

photosynthesis notes - Biology Junction

Plants and other photosynthetic organisms use special molecules for absorbing light. These pigments have a distinctive color, or spectrum, that is known to leave an imprint on the light reflected off our planet's surface. A new database catalogues the diverse palette of light-absorbing biological molecules on Earth in order to better predict what the photosynthetic signature might look like on other planets.

Chemistry for Biologists: Photosynthesis

Other bacteria use sunlight for different chemical purposes. Splitting water — as plants do — requires a lot of input energy, so some organisms "make a living" off less demanding reactions. For example, green sulfur bacteria use hydrogen sulfide as an "electron donor" in place of water. This process and others like it are referred to as anoxygenic photosynthesis because no oxygen is produced. The associated pigments are called bacteriochlorophylls.

Georgia Virtual Learning > Home

In a photosystem, several hundred accessory
pigment molecules surround a primary pigment molecules and the energy
of the light absorbed by the different pigments is passed on to the
primary pigment.

This tutorial introduces mitochondria

Carotenoids perform three major functions in plants : accessory pigments for light harvesting, prevention of photooxidative damage and pigmentation attracting insects.
The hydrocarbon carotenoids are known as carotenes, while oxygenated derivatives of these hydrocarbons are known as .

Plant Energy Transformations-Photosynthesis - …


During these reactions the photosynthetic pigments of the chloroplast
absorb light energy and give out excited electrons used to synthesise
ATP.

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