This discovery was made by researchers at University of Kalmar in Sweden, in collaboration with researchers in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Spain. The findings are described in an article in the prestigious academic journal Nature.
"It was long thought that algae were the only organisms in the seas that could use sunlight to grow," says Jarone Pinhassi, a researcher in Marine Microbiology at Kalmar University College. These microscopic algae carry out the same process as green plants on land, namely, photosynthesis with the help of chlorophyll.
In 2000 scientists in the U.S. found for the first time that many marine bacteria have a gene in their DNA that codes for a new type of light-capturing pigment: proteorhodopsin. Proteorhodopsin is related to the pigment in the retina that enables humans to see colors. It should be possible for this pigment to enable marine bacteria to capture solar light to generate energy, but until now it had not been possible to confirm this hypothesis.
Last year researchers from Kalmar collected 20 marine bacteria from different ocean areas and mapped their genomes. Several of them proved to contain the pigment proteorhodopsin. This made it possible to run a series of experiments that clearly show that growth in bacteria with this pigment is stimulated by sunlight, because the pigment converts solar energy to energy for growth. In other words, the scientists had found a new type of bacterial photosynthesis that takes place in the seas.
It's easier to understand the importance of understanding new mechanisms in marine bacteria to making efficient use of solar energy if we consider the fact that one liter of natural sea water contains roughly a billion bacteria. The activity of these bacteria is of great importance to the carbon cycle, through, for example, the amount of carbon dioxide they produce, and also to how the solar energy that reaches the earth is channeled through the nutrition cycle.
"Bacteria in the surface water of the world's oceans swim in a sea of light," says Jarone Pinhassi. "And it is shouldn't be too surprising that evolution has favored microorganisms that can use this rich source of energy. This type of protein may also play a role in commercial and environmental perspectives, for the development of artificial photosynthesis for the environmentally friendly production of energy."
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology