Crop Biotech Update

Photosynthesis and Climate Change

June 10, 2011

The mechanisms behind photosynthesis or how plants use and store light to produce energy might provide answers to the problem of climate change. Professor Alexander Ruban from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, University of London reported in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, the significance of the antenna structure in vascular plants.

"Plants have a remarkable ability to adapt to environmental changes around them. The antenna structure in vascular plants are able to act as a regulator – they are extremely intelligent," Ruban said. "The carotenoids, which are a group of pigments within the antenna structure, enable the antenna to regulate its absorption and shield capabilities."  He noted the potential significance to address climate change if this regulation and intelligence into the production of solar energy can be tapped.

See the media release at