Abstract— Using isolated chloroplasts and techniques as described by Joliot and Joliot we studied the evolution of O2 in weak light and light flashes to analyze the interactions between light induced O2 precursors and their decay in darkness. The following observations and conclusions are reported: 1. Light flashes always produce the same number of oxidizing equivalents either as precursor or as O2. 2. The number of unstable precursor equivalents present during steady state photosynthesis is ∼ 1.2 per photochemical trapping center. 3. The cooperation of the four photochemically formed oxidizing equivalents occurs essentially in the individual reaction centers and the final O2 evolution step is a one quantum process. 4. The data are compatible with a linear four step mechanism in which a trapping center, or an associated catalyst, (S) successively accumulates four + charges. The S4+ state produces O2 and returns to the ground state S0. 5. Besides S0 also the first oxidized state S+ is stable in the dark, the two higher states, S2+ and S3+ are not. 6. The relaxation times of some of the photooxidation steps were estimated. The fastest reaction, presumably S*1←S2, has a (first) half time ≤ 200 μsec. The S*2 state and probably also the S*0 state are processed somewhat more slowly (˜ 300–400 μsec).
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