Photoelectrochemistry of Photosystem II in Vitro vs in Vivo.

18 Apr 2018

Factors governing the photoelectrochemical output of photosynthetic microorganisms are poorly understood, and energy loss may occur due to inefficient electron transfer (ET) processes. Here, we systematically compare the photoelectrochemistry of photosystem II (PSII) protein-films to cyanobacteria biofilms to derive: (i) the losses in light-to-charge conversion efficiencies, (ii) gains in photocatalytic longevity, and (iii) insights into the ET mechanism at the biofilm interface. This study was enabled by the use of hierarchically structured electrodes, which could be tailored for high/stable loadings of PSII core complexes and Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 cells. The mediated photocurrent densities generated by the biofilm were 2 orders of magnitude lower than those of the protein-film. This was partly attributed to a lower photocatalyst loading as the rate of mediated electron extraction from PSII in vitro is only double that of PSII in vivo. On the other hand, the biofilm exhibited much greater longevity (>5 days) than the protein-film (<6 h), with turnover numbers surpassing those of the protein-film after 2 days. The mechanism of biofilm electrogenesis is suggested to involve an intracellular redox mediator, which is released during light irradiation.