Scientists have discovered a fundamentally new type of photosynthesis

Researchers from Imperial College London have described a new kind of photosynthesis process they discovered, which, in their opinion, could change our understanding of some of the processes occurring in the nature around us. It is not yet very clear if this new knowledge can be used in the field of clean alternative energy, but it can definitely be used to develop specially designed crops that will be more efficient than existing ones.

The new process of photosynthesis uses not visible, but near-infrared (NIR) light. In the usual photosynthesis, which is used by all plants, the green pigment chlorophyll-a takes part, which has the maximum absorption coefficient in the red region of the visible spectrum.

During the work, British researchers found that some types of cyanobacteria, instead of chlorophyll-a, use chlorophyll-f, which effectively absorbs near-infrared light. This, in turn, allows the cyanobacteria to live and thrive in places where normal light does not penetrate, but thermal (infrared) radiation does.

Note that chlorophyll-f has been known to scientists for a long time, but recent studies have helped to link this pigment with a new type of photosynthesis. In addition, the presence of a new type of photosynthesis, which is “beyond the red limit”, is of great importance for the field of astrobiology, biology that studies life of extraterrestrial origin. Astrobiologists use the term “red limit” to describe the minimum amount of energy that plants must receive for photosynthesis.

“This discovery is something that could fundamentally change the material found in textbooks on biology and astrobiology” – says Professor Bill Rutherford (Bill Rutherford), – “In addition, it will be possible to try to” graft “the possibility of new photosynthesis in conventional plants, which will receive the ability to “feed on light” even at night

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