A mechanistic model for the light response of photosynthetic electron transport rate based on light harvesting properties of photosynthetic pigment molecules

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Journal Article
Planta, 2013, 237 (3), pp. 837 - 847
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Models describing the light response of photosynthetic electron transport rate (ETR) are routinely used to determine how light absorption influences energy, reducing power and yields of primary productivity; however, no single model is currently able to provide insight into the fundamental processes that implicitly govern the variability of light absorption. Here we present development and application of a new mechanistic model of ETR for photosystem II based on the light harvesting (absorption and transfer to the core 'reaction centres') characteristics of photosynthetic pigment molecules. Within this model a series of equations are used to describe novel biophysical and biochemical characteristics of photosynthetic pigment molecules and in turn light harvesting; specifically, the eigen-absorption cross-section and the minimum average lifetime of photosynthetic pigment molecules in the excited state, which describe the ability of light absorption of photosynthetic pigment molecules and retention time of excitons in the excited state but are difficult to be measured directly. We applied this model to a series of previously collected fluorescence data and demonstrated that our model described well the light response curves of ETR, regardless of whether dynamic down-regulation of PSII occurs, for a range of photosynthetic organisms (Abies alba, Picea abies, Pinus mugo and Emiliania huxleyi). Inherent estimated parameters (e. g. maximum ETR and the saturation irradiance) by our model are in very close agreement with the measured data. Overall, our mechanistic model potentially provides novel insights into the regulation of ETR by light harvesting properties as well as dynamical down-regulation of PSII. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
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