Extreme bacteria can photosynthesise in near total darkness

Last Updated: September 23, 2016

An extreme bacteria can photosynthesise in near total darkness? A new study explains how it could be–the researchers from the Centre for Insoluble Protein Structures (inSPIN) at Aarhus University decided to manage bacteria chlorobaculum tepidum to photosynthesize in very little light. The discovery could lead to improved solar cells, says the publication in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

According to the Danish scientists, the extreme bacteria chlorobaculum tepidum can photosynthesise in near total darkness, with no light almost. The model of such bacteria was found in the mud layers at the bottom of lakes and the sea. These live bacteria are so extreme that it able convert sunlight into usable energy.

The postulate of Jakob Toudahl Nielsen, co-author of the publication, says that extreme bacteria can photosynthesise in near total darkness, it does it with the help of special antennae. Being armed with this knowledge, the team of scientists have now mapped the structure of a part of these antennae.

The discovery could eventually be used to make more effective solar cells that are capable of producing electricity at night, says Toudahl Nielsen:

“It’s certainly far off in future, but we can definitely learn something from nature. We might be able to make green solar cells than can cope at low levels of light and the knowledge gained from these bacteria could lead the way.

The German colleagues are highly appreciated that discovery, professor Jürgen Köhler from the Bayreuth Institute of Macromolecular Research is impressed by the new results. He said:

“To have the 3D-structure of the baseplate is a big step forward in the understanding of the function and energy transfer of the whole antennae system. Until now one of the components of energy transfer was unknown, specifically the roll of the baseplate. So if this study holds up, then it fills a void in our knowledge.”