Royal Society Publishing

How carotenoids protect bacterial photosynthesis

Richard J. Cogdell , Tina D. Howard , Robert Bittl , Erberhard Schlodder , Irene Geisenheimer , Wolfgang Lubitz


The essential function of carotenoids in photosynthesis is to act as photoprotective agents, preventing chlorophylls and bacteriochlorophylls from sensitizing harmful photodestructive reactions in the presence of oxygen. Based upon recent structural studies on reaction centres and antenna complexes from purple photosynthetic bacteria, the detailed organization of the carotenoids is described. Then with specific reference to bacterial antenna complexes the details of the photoprotective role, triplet–triplet energy transfer, are presented.

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