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Science. 2018 Jun 15;360(6394):1210-1213. doi: 10.1126/science.aar8313.

Photochemistry beyond the red limit in chlorophyll f-containing photosystems.

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Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK.
Research School of Chemistry, ANU, Canberra, Australia.
Istituto di Biofisica, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, via Celoria 26, 20133 Milano, Italy.
Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK.
Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 7141 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 13 Rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75005 Paris, France.
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS, UK.
Institut de Biologie Intégrative de la Cellule, UMR 9198, Bât 532, CEA Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


Photosystems I and II convert solar energy into the chemical energy that powers life. Chlorophyll a photochemistry, using red light (680 to 700 nm), is near universal and is considered to define the energy "red limit" of oxygenic photosynthesis. We present biophysical studies on the photosystems from a cyanobacterium grown in far-red light (750 nm). The few long-wavelength chlorophylls present are well resolved from each other and from the majority pigment, chlorophyll a. Charge separation in photosystem I and II uses chlorophyll f at 745 nm and chlorophyll f (or d) at 727 nm, respectively. Each photosystem has a few even longer-wavelength chlorophylls f that collect light and pass excitation energy uphill to the photochemically active pigments. These photosystems function beyond the red limit using far-red pigments in only a few key positions.

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