Study yields first snapshots of water splitting in photosynthesis

Lyra Nara Blog

Study yields first snapshots of water splitting in photosynthesis

The photosystem II cycle has four steps. There is a large conformation change between status S1 and status S3, as shown by the new inverstigations. Credit: Shibom Basu/Arizona State University

An international team, led by Arizona State University scientists, has published today in Nature a groundbreaking study that shows the first snapshots of photosynthesis in action as it splits water into protons, electrons and oxygen, the process that maintains Earth’s oxygen atmosphere.

“This study is the first step towards our ultimate goal of unraveling the secrets of water splitting and obtaining molecular movies of biomolecules,” said Petra Fromme, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at ASU. Fromme is the senior author and leader of the international team, which reported their work in “Serial time-resolved crystallography of photosystem II using a femtosecond X-ray laser,” in the July 9 on-line issue of Nature.

Photosynthesis is one of the fundamental processes of life…

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