Quantum photosynthesis

Biologists have traditionally left quantum theory to physicists. But the complicated interactions between matter and energy predicted by quantum mechanics appears to play a role in photosynthesis, according to a study published this week in Nature -- affecting how energy from the sun makes its way to a cell's reaction centers before being converted to chemical energy that powers cellular functions. Cryptophye algae from the ocean(species Rhodomonas)Image: Dr. Tihana Mirkovic,University of Toron

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef (an unusual nickname for Jennifer) got her master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses. After four years of diving off the Gulf...

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Feb 2, 2010
Biologists have traditionally left quantum theory to physicists. But the complicated interactions between matter and energy predicted by quantum mechanics appears to play a role in photosynthesis, according to a study published this week in Nature -- affecting how energy from the sun makes its way to a cell's reaction centers before being converted to chemical energy that powers cellular functions.
Cryptophye algae from the ocean
(species Rhodomonas)

Image: Dr. Tihana Mirkovic,
University of Toronto
"The main surprise was that you could actually see" these quantum effects influencing real world biology, said biophysicist linkurl:Rienk van Grondelle;http://www.nat.vu.nl/%7Erienk/ of VU University in Amsterdam, who did not participate in the work, and "that you could observe this phenomenon underlying how [photosynthesis] was working." Quantum mechanics is a theory that describes the behavior of subatomic particles such as photons and electrons. But scientists have long believed that predictions made by the theory would...
Nature



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