Purple harvesters


While scientists are breaking their backs over maximizing efficiency of solar cell technology, the most primitive life form is doing so on its own. The purple bacterium harvests solar energy for food. Its cellular apparatus has a funnel to capture and direct photons to the reaction centre (RC) which converts light to chemical energy. The bacterium keeps changing the design of RCs to ensure maximum utilization balanced with least damage from an oversupply of protons. For scientists looking to enrich solar panels, purple is the answer.


Down To Earth, June 2010