The structural biology of light capture: A molecular resolution 3D atlas of the photosynthetic machinery (2010–2012)
AIM: To produce a pseudo-atomic 3D-atlas of the photosynthetic machinery of microalgae. SIGNIFICANCE: Photosynthesis drives the first step of all biofuel production processes by capturing solar energy and converting it to chemical energy. In excess, light can however cause photodamage. Microalgae have therefore evolved complex photo-protection mechanisms. These can dissipate ( waste ), up to 90% of the captured light energy as fluorescence and heat. It has been demonstrated that reducing the size of the light harvesting antenna can considerably increase photosynthetic efficiency. OUTCOME: This 3D atlas will facilitate the fine tuning of the photosynthetic machinery for high efficiency 2nd generation bio-fuel production.