The final photosynthetic bacteria are in the genus . Halobacteria thrive in very salty environments, such as the Dead Sea and the Great Salt Lake. Halobacteria are unique in that they perform photosynthesis without chlorophyll. Instead, their photosynthetic pigments are bacteriorhodopsin and halorhodopsin. These pigments are similar to sensory rhodopsin, the pigment used by humans andother animals for vision. Bacteriorhodopsin and halorhodopsin are embedded in the cell membranes of halobacteria and each pigment consists of retinal, a vitamin-A derivative, bound to a protein. Irradiation of these pigments causes a structural change in their retinal. This is referred to as photoisomerization. Retinal photoisomerization leads to the synthesis of ATP. Halobacteria have two additional rhodopsins, sensory rhodopsin-I and sensory rhodopsin-II. These compounds regulate phototaxis, the directional movement in response to light.
If the light intensity is not a limiting factor, there will usually be a shortage of NADP+ as NADPH accumulates within the stroma (see light independent reaction). NADP+ is needed for the normal flow of electrons in the thylakoid membranes as it is the final electron acceptor. If NADP+ is not available then the normal flow of electrons is inhibited. However, there is an alternative pathway for ATP production in this case and it is called cyclic photophosphorylation. It begins with Photosystem I absorbing light and becoming photoactivated. The excited electrons from Photosystem I are then passed on to a chain of electron carriers between Photosystem I and II. These electrons travel along the chain of carriers back to Photosystem I and as they do so they cause the pumping of protons across the thylakoid membrane and therefore create a proton gradient. As explained previously, the protons move back across the thylakoid membrane through ATP synthase and as they do so, ATP is produced. Therefore, ATP can be produced even when there is a shortage of NADP+.
The chemical energy is stored in the form of glucose (sugar). Carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight are used to produce glucose, oxygen, and water. The chemical equation for this process is:
Since van Neil's time, the structure of the photosynthetic apparatus has been deduced. The study of photosynthesis is currently an active area of research in biology. Crystals of the photosynthetic reaction center from the anaerobic photosynthetic bacterium were created in the 1980s by Hartmut Michel and Johann Deisenhofer, who then used x-ray crystallography to determine the three-dimensional structure of the photosynthetic protein. In 1988, the two scientists shared the in Chemistry with Robert Huber for this research.
Sunlight is absorbed by chlorophyll, a green pigment located in structures called . Chloroplasts are the sites of photosynthesis. Chloroplasts contain several structures, each having specific functions:
Photosynthesis occurs in two stages. These stages are called the light reactions and the dark reactions. The light reactions take place in the presence of light. The dark reactions do not require direct light, however dark reactions in most plants occur during the day.
Photosynthesis consists of two series of biochemical reactions, called the light reactions and the dark reactions. The light reactions use the light energy absorbed by chlorophyll to synthesize structurally unstable high-energy molecules. The dark reactions use these high-energy molecules to manufacture carbohydrates. The carbohydrates are stable structures that can be stored by plants and by bacteria. Although the dark reactions do not require light, they often occur in the light because they are dependent upon the light reactions. In higher plants and algae, the light and dark reactions of photosynthesis occur in chloroplasts, specialized chlorophyll-containing intracellular structures that are enclosed by double membranes.
occur mostly in the thylakoid stacks of the grana. Here, sunlight is converted to chemical energy in the form of ATP (free energy containing molecule) and NADPH (high energy electron carrying molecule). Chlorophyll absorbs light energy and starts a chain of steps that result in the production of ATP, NADPH, and oxygen (through the splitting of water). Oxygen is released through the stomata. Both ATP and NADPH are used in the dark reactions to produce sugar.
In the light reactions of photosynthesis, light energy excites photosynthetic pigments to higher energy levels and this energy is used to make two high energy compounds, ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and NADPH ( nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate). ATP and NADPH are consumed during the subsequent dark reactions in the synthesis of carbohydrates.
This process is known as carbon fixation or the . The Calvin cycle has three main stages: carbon fixation, reduction, and regeneration. In carbon fixation, carbon dioxide is combined with a 5-carbon sugar [ribulose1,5-biphosphate (RuBP)] creating a 6-carbon sugar. In the reduction stage, ATP and NADPH produced in the light reaction stage are used to convert the 6-carbon sugar into two molecules of a 3-carbon , glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate. Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate is used to make glucose and fructose. These two molecules (glucose and fructose) combine to make sucrose or sugar. In the regeneration stage, some molecules of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate are combined with ATP and are converted back into the 5-carbon sugar RuBP. With the cycle complete, RuBP is available to be combined with carbon dioxide to begin the cycle over again.
In algae, the light reactions occur on the so-called thylakoid membranes of the chloroplasts. The thylakoid membranes are inner membranes of the chloroplasts. These membranes are arranged like flattened sacs. The thylakoids are often stacked on top of one another, like a roll of coins. Such a stack is referred to as a granum. ATP can also be made by a special series of light reactions, referred to as cyclic photophosphorylation, which occurs in the thylakoid membranes of the chloroplast .
In summary, photosynthesis is a process in which light energy is converted to chemical energy and used to produce organic compounds. In plants, photosynthesis typically occurs within the chloroplasts located in plant . Photosynthesis consists of two stages, the light reactions and the dark reactions. The light reactions convert light into energy (ATP and NADHP) and the dark reactions use the energy and carbon dioxide to produce sugar. For a review of photosynthesis, take the .