Potential of photosynthesis regulation found under altered lighting

Potential of photosynthesis regulation found under altered lighting

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants grow. They use sunlight to generate energy, release oxygen, and produce carbohydrates, which are the primary food source for all humans and nearly all animals on the planet. Light availability can change dramatically in a short period of time under natural conditions. Clouds, which provide light and shadow as they pass in front of the sun, are one of the primary reasons. Plant leaves and branches can also provide temporary shade when moved by the wind. Plants cannot move from shade to sun when light is scarce, and cannot move from sun to shade when exposed to excessive sunlight. They must adapt to changing lighting conditions in other ways.

Plants are typically grown under continuous lighting for research purposes, which does not replicate outdoor conditions.

According to a study published in the journal, ‘New Phytologist’, researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam-Golm (Germany) and the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University (USA) demonstrate the significance of two key proteins for the dynamic control of photosynthesis in a series of experiments with changing light conditions, simulating the natural interplay of light and shadow.

Just like for humans, too much sunlight is harmful to plants. In particular, a rapid change between faint and intense light is problematic. Like the retina in our eyes, plants use molecules in their leaves to capture light particles. When light is low, these light traps are very efficient at catching as much of the low light as possible. If light conditions suddenly change, too much light energy might reach the plant. This energy can overload or damage the sensitive photosynthetic apparatus inside the plant cells. Accordingly, plants have to constantly adapt their photosynthetic activity to their environmental conditions in order to obtain maximum light yield on the one hand, but avoid being harmed by too much light on the other hand.

Continue reading.

Image by Lifestylememory on Freepik



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