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."
Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF
Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
17.07.2018 | Information Technology
17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering