Photosystems as blueprints for and components of new nanomachines
Highly efficient and stable biological catalysts like PSI provide a blue print for the design of novel hybrid (synthetic/synthetic and biological/synthetic) systems for crucial reactions like photocatalysis and photovoltaics. Modifying PSI by directed evolution will produce variants adapted to catalysis-relevant conditions.
Studying how these adaptations modify the multiple parameters of the elementary reactions involved, will allow us to learn which characteristics superior synthetic bio-inspired systems should have. Complementary, other - at the at first view - superior biocatalysts like PSII, hydrogenases or nitrogenases have significant drawbacks such as an inherent instability and/or sensitivity to oxygen, such that the advantage of hybrid systems combining the best of the biological and chemical worlds are obvious. Addressing essential questions like expanding the solar spectrum of photosynthesis might be only solved in bio-hybrid systems with synthetic light-harvesting systems that are then ultimately transferred to biological approaches for enhancing photosynthesis.
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