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A New Type of Chlorophyll Discovered after 60 years of Research 59

An interdisplinary team of scientists discover a new form of Chlorophyll which could lead to new developments of new methods to produce biofuels. The team had a group of scientists

-  Dr Martin Schliep and Dr Zhengli Cai (University of Sydney, Australia);

-  Associate Professor Robert Willows (Macquarie University, Australia);

-  Professor Brett Neilan (University of New South Wales, Australia)

-  Professor Hugo Scheer (University of Munich, Germany)

These scientists worked together and characterized the absorption properties and chemical structure of chlorophyll f, making it the fifth known type of chlorophyll molecule on Earth. Believe it or not, many scientists have been researching on this for over 60 years now.

Chlorophyll, as you might be knowing is an important green pigment found in algae which  helps the  algae to obtain energy from light.,  It  was earlier believed that these pigments absorbs light more strongly in the blue portion of the electromagnetic spectrum followed by the red spectrum and so on. However, this new discovery extends that range all the way to the red end of that spectrum.

This finding could lead to the development of new methods to produce biofuels more efficiently. The efficiency of the photosynthesis is entirely dependent on the type and intensity of sunlight the algae is exposed to and  this discovery could thus help us to probably use a suitable  algae strain or probably engineer a strain which can accumulate lipids in its cells and produce biofuels even when its exposed to multiple types of light.

If the algae is able to make effective utilization of a wider portion of the light spectrum, than it naturally produces a lot more energy, which in turn allows it to grow faster. This means that the point is located just beyond the red end of the visible light spectrum.

There  are four forms of Chlorophyll: Chlorophyll a Chlorophyll b Chlorophyll c1 Chlorophyll c2 Chlorophyll d.  This newly discovered chlorophyll is called Chlorophyll f which can utilize lower energy than any other knows chlorophyll.

This chlorophyll was first identified rather accidently discovered in what is called stromatolites. Stromatolites are basically layered structures formed in shallow water by the trapping, binding and cementation of sedimentary grains by blue-green algae.

The samples used in this particular investigation were collected from the Hamelin pool, in the Shark Bay of western Australia. The research team  believes that microorganisms known as filamentous cyanobacteria are responsible for the production of chlorophyll f in stromatolites.

More information: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=new-form-chlorophyll
Fri August 27 2010 04:04:10 AM by Sumukhi biofuels  |  algae  |  photosynthesis  |  chlorophyll 2389 views

Comments - 4

  • Mahesh wrote:
    Fri August 27 2010 12:48:59 PM

    Nice information..

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  • Richard wrote:
    Thu September 02 2010 11:28:16 AM

    The discovery is significant because it could help push forward the development of new strains of algae that can use a larger part of the light spectrum to produce biofuel oils, which in turn would help to make renewable biofuel production cheaper and more competitive with fossil fuels.

    Richard Spyros

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  • Richard wrote:
    Thu September 02 2010 11:30:19 AM

    This new chlorophyll f appears to harvests part of the light spectrum that other known forms of chlorophyll don?t absorb.

    Richard Spyros

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  • Ilovealgae wrote:
    Thu November 18 2010 05:29:10 AM

    i think the discovery is awesome! It excites me to see that the scientist that have worked so hard over the last 60 years hasn't been in vain.

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