DOE funds Purdue’s photosynthesis repair research
“Life is bottled sunshine” – Wynwood Reade, Martyrdom of Man, 1924.
Every drop of energy humans consume originates from sunlight. The plants we eat capture the sun’s energy through photosynthesis, and the animals we eat are fed by plants.
But the thing that makes all that life possible is the same thing that can break plants’ ability to photosynthesize. Too much light can wreak havoc on a plant’s photosystem II, a molecular nanomachine that extracts electrons from water in photosynthesis. The damage to photosystem II affects photosynthetic efficiency and makes plants expend energy to repair the damage. Purdue’s Sujith Puthiyaveetil, an assistant professor of biochemistry, is interested in determining how plants repair their photosystems, and he recently received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to find out.