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Protein enables discovery of quantum effect in photosynthesis

elike motions of energy (superposition states) that can explore all potential energy pathways simultaneously and reversibly, meaning they can retreat from wrong pathways with no penalty. This finding contradicts the classical description of the photosynthetic energy transfer process as one in which excitation energy hops from light-capturing pigment molecules to reaction center molecules step-by-step down the molecular energy ladder.

"The classical hopping description of the energy transfer process is both inadequate and inaccurate," said Fleming. "It gives the wrong picture of how the process actually works, and misses a crucial aspect of the reason for the wonderful efficiency."

The taco shell is a sort of "middleman" in the antenna system, sandwiched in between a larger antenna and a molecule called the Reaction Center, where all the chemistry in energy transfer takes place, said Blankenship.

"Most of the absorption of light is carried out by a complex called the chlorosome that then transfers the energy to the trimeric protein that in turn transfers to the Reaction Center," Blankenship said.


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Source:Washington University in St. Louis


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