The different colors indicate two types of photosynthesis in blue-green algal cells: chlorophyll-a (magenta) and chlorophyll-f (yellow).DENNIS NUERNBERG In a study published in Science on June 14, researchers show that many blue-green algae use near-infrared light, instead of the usual visible red light, to photosynthesize. These algae used chlorophyll-f when they have access to only near-infrared light, as opposed to chlorophyll-a, which they use under red light.

In a statement, Bill Rutherford, a coauthor on the paper, says this “changes how we understand the key events at the heart of standard photosynthesis.”

D.J. Nürnberg et al., “Photochemistry beyond the red limit in chlorophyll f–containing photosystems,” Science, doi:10.1126/science.aar8313, 2018.

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