Oxygenic photosynthesis: history, status and perspective
|Biophysics; ELECTRON-PARAMAGNETIC-RESONANCE; EVOLVING PHOTOSYSTEM-II; LINEAR DICHROISM SPECTROSCOPY; manganese cluster; MANGANESE-CENTERED OXIDATION; NANOSECOND REDUCTION KINETICS; O BOND FORMATION; oxygen; Photosynthesis; PHOTOTHERMAL BEAM DEFLECTION; QUANTUM MECHANICS/MOLECULAR MECHANICS; RAY-ABSORPTION SPECTROSCOPY; water oxidation; WATER OXIDIZING COMPLEX
|CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS
|QUARTERLY REVIEWS OF BIOPHYSICS
Cyanobacteria and plants carry out oxygenic photosynthesis. They use water to generate the atmospheric oxygen we breathe and carbon dioxide to produce the biomass serving as food, feed, fibre and fuel. This paper scans the emergence of structural and mechanistic understanding of oxygen evolution over the past 50 years. It reviews speculative concepts and the stepped insight provided by novel experimental and theoretical techniques. Driven by sunlight photosystem II oxidizes the catalyst of water oxidation, a hetero-metallic Mn4CaO5(H2O)(4) cluster. Mn3Ca are arranged in cubanoid and one Mn dangles out. By accumulation of four oxidizing equivalents before initiating dioxygen formation it matches the four-electron chemistry from water to dioxygen to the one-electron chemistry of the photo-sensitizer. Potentially harmful intermediates are thereby occluded in space and time. Kinetic signatures of the catalytic cluster and its partners in the photo-reaction centre have been resolved, in the frequency domain ranging from acoustic waves via infra-red to X-ray radiation, and in the time domain from nano- to milli-seconds. X-ray structures to a resolution of 1.9 angstrom are available. Even time resolved X-ray structures have been obtained by clocking the reaction cycle by flashes of light and diffraction with femtosecond X-ray pulses. The terminal reaction cascade from two molecules of water to dioxygen involves the transfer of four electrons, two protons, one dioxygen and one water. A rigorous mechanistic analysis is challenging because of the kinetic enslaving at millisecond duration of six partial reactions (4e(-), 1H(+), 1O(2)). For the time being a peroxide-intermediate in the reaction cascade to dioxygen has been in focus, both experimentally and by quantum chemistry. Homo sapiens has relied on burning the products of oxygenic photosynthesis, recent and fossil. Mankind's total energy consumption amounts to almost one-fourth of the global photosynthetic productivity. If the average power consumption equalled one of those nations with the highest consumption per capita it was four times greater and matched the total productivity. It is obvious that biomass should be harvested for food, feed, fibre and platform chemicals rather than for fuel.
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