Photosynthesis : Overviews on Recent Progress and Future Perspectives

Photosynthesis : Overviews on Recent Progress and Future Perspectives
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Photosynthesis : Overviews on Recent Progress and Future Perspectives

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Publisher: IK International
ISBN: 9789381141007
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The chapters of the book pertain to various subjects, such as to the effects of environmental stresses on photosynthesis, to regulatory mechanisms triggered by ground state redox signals or by carotenoid absorption, to the application of optical probes to photosynthesis research, notably of chlorophyll fluorescence, and to the historical evolution of the concepts of modern photosynthesis, particularly with respect to photosynthetic oxygen evolution. Although the theme of the global perspective of photosynthesis namely exploiting science for improved food production and energy storage was behind this book, none of its chapters addresses such themes. Instead, they provide a glimpse of how far the science of photosynthesis has advanced to ensure the successful confrontation of these crucial and controversial global issues. The honoured person here, Professor Govindjee, was born in Allahabad, Northern India, in 1932, the youngest child of Mrs Savitri Devi Asthana and Mr Vishveswar Prasad Asthana. He finished elementary school, high school, college, and university up to the level of MSc subjects chemistry, botany, zoology in Allahabad, and in 1956 he went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Fulbright Scholar, where he was accepted as graduate student in the laboratory of the famous Robert Emerson of the Botany Department. From the early 1930s through late 1950s Robert Emerson was a dominant personality in photosynthesis research. A gifted experimentalist he made radical discoveries that seemingly violated fundamental and firmly established chemical laws and concepts see reviews by Myers, 1974 Govindjee, 2000 Govindjee and Krogmann 2004 and Govindjee and Bj rn, this volume . Thus, his discovery with William Arnold of a stoichiometric ratio of 2480 chlorophylls per 1 O2 evolved Emerson and Arnold, 1932a, b not only was way out exopragmatic, but also against what one would expect from an organic-magnesium compound like chlorophyll, for which a Chl.CO2 complex, analogous to those of the organic-magnesium Grignard reagents form RMgX CO2 RCOOMgX where X is a halogen atom seemed more likely. Likewise, the discovery that the unicellular green alga Chlorella requires a minimum of 8 12 quanta in order to release 1 O2 Emerson and Lewis, 1941, 1943 appeared to be in direct conflict with the StarkEinstein law of photochemical equivalence, which prescribes 1 chemical event per absorbed photon. And
viii Foreword lastly, Emerson s idea of two separate, but closely cooperating, photochemical systems Emerson and Rabinowitch, 1960 had no precedent in photobiology although and quite remarkably, it was predicted by Eugene Rabinowitch see Govindjee and Bj rn, this volume . These three discoveries of Emerson and coworkers, together with van Neil s 1941 discovery that both the anoxygenic bacteria and oxygenic algae, plants photosyntheses do not photo-deoxygenate CO2 but they do photo-reduce it by photo-dissociating hydrogen donors are today the mainstays of the modern theory of photosynthesis. At the time of Govindjee s arrival in Urbana, however, they were still debated. Govindjee started working on his doctoral thesis under Emerson, seeking further evidence to consolidate the concept of the two light reactions in photosynthesis. Emerson, however, was killed in 1959, in an airplane accident, so Govindjee continued and completed his thesis requirements in 1960 under the supervision of Emerson s associate, Professor Eugene Rabinowitch, a physical chemist of many talents and countless interests including photosynthesis see Brody 1995, 2002 . Its appropriate title was Action Spectra of the Emerson Enhancement Effect in Algae . Like an impatient race car at the starting line, Govindjee set off in his scientific race at top speed. In the years that followed he devoted his energy, mainly, to four areas of intellectual activity education, scientific research, book and journal editing and in the chronicling of emerging concepts, trends and of the individuals behind them that occurred in the Gnostic area of photosynthesis. He is recognized as a truly inspirational educator, with a talent of adding drama to his teaching, as the numerous students he proselytized to photosynthesis research do prove. The first such proselyte in 1963 was the author of this Foreword, and shortly after, Prasanna Mohanty, one of the editors of this volume, did join in. Since that magic time, both of us, Mohanty and Papageorgiou, are in continuous contact and collaboration with Govindjee. From the very beginning, through his retirement and beyond, his research output was always near or in the moving frontline of advancing photosynthesis. Govindjee is best known for his research on the various functional manifestations of the Photosystem II PS II supercomplex lightdriven water-plastoquinone oxidoreductase , including excitation energy transfer, light emission,