Spectral extension in photosynthesis: molecular mechanism of photosynthesis driven by red-shifted chlorophylls
Novel pigments and new directions in photosynthesis: past, now and future
Photosynthesis – the most important reaction on the Earth – is the agent that stores the energy of sunlight into carbohydrates for later use in the biosphere. To increase the efficiency of photosynthesis, Nature has evolved varieties of chlorophyll that encompass most of the range of visible light, enabling the maximal use of sunlight. Chlorophyll a was considered to be the only chlorophyll that can use the energy of sunlight to power the water-splitting reaction in oxygenic photosynthesis: this is the essential reaction that keeps the natural biosphere functioning. However, the possible solar energy efficiency between the Chl a/b system, from 400 to 700 nm, and the red-shifted chlorophylls-photosynthetic systems that can use the light from 400–760 nm can increase the solar energy conversion potential. Understanding the molecular mechanism of red-shifted chlorophyll-photosynthesis would be the first step toward potential application in artificial photosynthesis and renewable bioenergy.
• Current PhD/Hons topics being undertaken at the location or with the supervisors
Three PhD Projects are being undertaken in A/Prof Chen’s laboratory.
1. Light-harvesting systems in Chromera velia
2. Function of Chl f in a newly isolated cyanobacterium from stromatolites
3. Global protein analysis of cyanobacterium Acaryochloris marina under various oxygen-stressed conditions.
• Is the opportunity also available for Honours students?
Yes, one-year potential projects are available for honours students. Details please contact A/Prof Min Chen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
• Techniques, methodologies, research approaches, technologies, etc., employed by the project - e.g., electron microscopy, textual analysis, etc.
Pigment and pigment-bound protein analyses are performed by using a spectrophotometer, fluorescence photometer and other molecular spectral analysis methods.
General protein isolation and characteristic methods, such as electrophoresis (SDS_PAGE, IEF, Western Blotting, Native electrophoresis, 2-D gel, peptide mass finger printing and other proteomic analysis, protein structure (electron microscope image analysis and single particle modeling).
Chromatographic anaylsis such as HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography), FPLC (Fast protein liquid chromatography), gel filtration and ion-exchanging columns for proteins and protein-complexes purification.
DNA, RNA isolation, PCR (DNA as templates) and RT-PCR (RNA as templates), Gene transformation and functional studies in vitro.
• Scholarships/funding available
Two current ARC discovery projects will support the research to 2012.
Want to find out more?
Photosynthesis, evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis, chlorophyll, light-harvesting complexes, phycobiliproteins, chlorophyll-binding protein complexes, proteomics of membrane-bound protein complexes, Protein structural models. Stress-response plant physiology (light, oxygen and nutrients), biosynthesis of chlorophyll and other photopigments. Acaryochloris, blue-green algae, cyanobacteria, Bioinformatics and functional genomics
The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1307
Other opportunities with Associate Professor Min Chen