- Blue light reduces photosynthetic efficiency of cyanobacteria through an imbalance between photosystems I and II
- Photosynthesis Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 138 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Several studies have described that cyanobacteria use blue light less efficiently for photosynthesis than most eukaryotic phototrophs, but comprehensive studies of this phenomenon are lacking. Here, we study the effect of blue (450 nm), orange (625 nm), and red (660 nm) light on growth of the model cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, the green alga Chlorella sorokiniana and other cyanobacteria containing phycocyanin or phycoerythrin. Our results demonstrate that specific growth rates of the cyanobacteria were similar in orange and red light, but much lower in blue light. Conversely, specific growth rates of the green alga C. sorokiniana were similar in blue and red light, but lower in orange light. Oxygen production rates of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 were five-fold lower in blue than in orange and red light at low light intensities but approached the same saturation level in all three colors at high light intensities. Measurements of 77 K fluorescence emission demonstrated a lower ratio of photosystem I to photosystem II (PSI:PSII ratio) and relatively more phycobilisomes associated with PSII (state 1) in blue light than in orange and red light. These results support the hypothesis that blue light, which is not absorbed by phycobilisomes, creates an imbalance between the two photosystems of cyanobacteria with an energy excess at PSI and a deficiency at the PSII-side of the photosynthetic electron transfer chain. Our results help to explain why phycobilisome-containing cyanobacteria use blue light less efficiently than species with chlorophyll-based light-harvesting antennae such as Prochlorococcus, green algae and terrestrial plants.
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