Scientists at the University of Sheffield are part of an international team that has become the first to successfully discover how the component parts of photosynthesis fit together within the cell membrane. In a paper, The native architecture of a photosynthetic membrane, published in Nature on 26 August 2004, they describe how the configuration of the three structures that allow photosynthesis to occur fit together, and find that Mother Nature has developed a much more complex and effective system than was previously thought.
Photosynthesis is the reaction that allows plants and bacteria to take in sunlight and convert it into chemical energy, by reducing carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates and oxygen. Photosynthesis is the backbone of life on Earth – all the food we eat, the oxygen we breathe and the fossil fuel we burn are products of this reaction.
Professor Neil Hunter from the University of Sheffield explains, “Photosynthesis is the single most important chemical reaction on Earth and it is fascinating to see for the first time how nature has overcome the problem of harvesting and utilising solar energy.
Lorna Branton | alfa
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