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  1. Christopher R. Staples,
  2. Robert E. Blankenship

Published Online: 15 MAR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470862106.ia192

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Staples, C. R. and Blankenship, R. E. 2006. Photosynthesis. Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2006


Photosynthesis is a biological process in which light energy is captured and stored as chemical energy by organisms such as plants, algae and certain bacteria. The stored energy is then used to power cellular processes. Most organisms that perform photosynthesis utilize chlorophylls or bacteriochlorophylls, in conjunction with other pigments such as carotenoids, pheophytins, and bilins. The emphasis in this article will be on the aspects of photosynthesis that relate most directly to the subject of inorganic chemistry. The aspects presented include excited states, photochemical reactions, the role of metal ions in photosynthesis, the structures of pigments, electron transfer pathways, reduction potentials of components, chromophore absorption and fluorescence spectra, energetics, and kinetics. Recent crystal structures of photosystems I and II, the important enzyme cytochrome b6f, and antenna complexes and supercomplexes are presented and discussed.


  • antenna complex;
  • bacteriochlorophyll;
  • chlorophyll;
  • chloroplast;
  • cytochrome;
  • photosystem;
  • pigments;
  • Q-cycle;
  • reaction center;
  • supercomplex