ns was trained together a biotechnologist and also have newly submitted mine thesis. While wait for mine defense, I believed it would be wonderful if I might share my knowledge while working v the team of Dr. Sandhya Mishra from main Salt and Marine Chemicals research Institute, Gujarat, India. My study interests right now involve finding out new and exciting biological and also chemistry applications because that C-phycoerythrin, of i m sorry we have two or three various sources. In quest of my studies and goals, I believed it would be wonderful to share my suffer in this ar with ours budding scientists and researchers the human being over.

Sandhya Mishra

Sandhya Mishra

ns completed my Ph.D. In bio-inorganic chemistry under Prof. M. M. Taqui cannes from Bhavnagar college in 1990. I have been functioning on phycobiliproteins and their applications because that the previous two decades and also my research study group currently focuses ~ above phycobiliproteins and also carotenoids indigenous cyanobacteria. Since our state has actually a lengthy coastline, us can constantly be discovered in some remote edge of Gujarat, and yes, we love beaches and the oceans! ns have constantly tried come encourage and also motivate mine students to cost-free their imagination with ability and ago it increase using clinical experiments. *smishra

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The food us eat ultimately comes from plants, either directly or indirectly. The prominence of plants together the an international kitchen deserve to never it is in underestimated. Plants “eat” sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce their very own food and also food because that the countless other organisms dependent ~ above them. A molecule, chlorophyll (Chl), is critical for this process, because it absorbs sunlight. However, the method land plants produce their food is really different native the way plants in the oceans produce their food. Due to the fact that it is difficult for light to with underneath the water in the oceans, food production, scientifically dubbed photosynthesis, becomes really slow. Phycobiliproteins space proteins the make this job easier, by taking in the accessible light and passing the on to Chl. This phycobiliproteins are discovered in tiny, invisible organisms referred to as cyanobacteria. Their “food-producing” reactions are an essential for the survive of many living organisms like fish, birds, and also other sea life. The is, therefore, very important for anyone to understand just how cyanobacteria do their food, and also what essential roles the phycobiliproteins beat in the process.

You are watching: Plants that produce their own food

How do Living Things obtain Their Food?

When you think that food, execute you usually come up with pictures of your favorite food? This is a organic process, since food is crucial for every living thing. To satisfy this straightforward need, every living things either do their very own food or gain it native some various other source. Humans can eat both plants and animals. Some pets consume other animals, while some pets eat plants together their food. Ultimately, we see that everybody on this planet is dependent on tree for your food. Yet then, what do plants eat? Actually, plants “eat” sunlight and a gas called carbon dioxide, both the which room easily obtainable right here on earth. The procedure by which soil plants create their own food utilizing sunlight and carbon dioxide is recognized as photosynthesis (Figure 1). When carbon dioxide is absorbed by the leaves, the sunlight is caught by a chemical molecule in the plant, called chlorophyll (Chl). All photosynthetic organisms contain Chl.

Figure 1 - A streamlined view of exactly how plants develop food for us.The leaves of eco-friendly plants contain chlorophyll, i beg your pardon absorbs sunlight for developing food. This food is then offered by the plant itself as well as other animals, consisting of humans.

However, the way land plants execute photosynthesis go not aid the organisms living in the oceans, which cover virtually 70% of our earth. Tree in the oceans confront problems v light availability. The blue and also green portions of irradiate penetrate right into the water an ext than the yellow and also red portions of light do (Figure 2). Luckily, s plants get help in producing food from such limited light and also carbon dioxide, from tiny microscopic microbes referred to as cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae). These microbes have adapted to dim irradiate conditions, and also they carry out photosynthesis both for themselves and for the benefit of other living things. Cyanobacteria are ancient microbes that have been living on our planet for billions of years. Cyanobacteria are stated to it is in responsible for developing the oxygen-filled setting we live in <1>. For delivering out photosynthesis in low light conditions, cyanobacteria have the help of proteins dubbed phycobiliproteins, which room found buried in the cell membranes (the outer covering) of the cyanobacteria.

Figure 2 - Penetration of sunlight in oceans.Sunlight is written of different colors: V, violet; B, blue; G, green; Y, yellow; O, orange; and also R, red. The blue and green color reach approximately 200 m inside water, while all the various other colors consisting of violet have the right to reach just up come the very first 100 m inside the oceans. The arrows represent the depth to which various colors of light reach the oceans.

What space Phycobiliproteins?

Phycobiliproteins beat the role of aides to Chl in aquatic (water) environments. Since light has actually a challenging time penetrating into the oceans, phycobiliproteins make this job easier by soaking up whatever irradiate is available; they absorb the green portion of the light and turn it come red light, i beg your pardon is the color of light compelled by Chl <2>. However, transforming the shade of light is not as simple as the seems. The green light needs to pass through various phycobiliprotein molecules, which absorb light of one color and also give the end light of one more color. The shade that is offered out is then taken up by a second phycobiliprotein, which transforms it right into a third color. This process continues till the emitted irradiate is red, i beg your pardon can finally be taken increase by Chl. Because that this whole process to take it place, we have actually three various kinds the phycobiliprotein molecule arranged together a type of a hat over the Chl molecule, together you can see in figure 3. These 3 kinds that phycobiliproteins are:

(a) C-phycoerythrin (CPE), pinkish-red in color and also responsible for absorbing the green part of sunlight.

(b) C-phycocyanin (CPC), deep blue in color and responsible for taking in the orange-red portion of sunlight.

(c) Allophycocyanin (APC), light blue in color and also responsible for soaking up the red section of sunlight.

Figure 3 - Hat-like setup of phycobiliproteins and also chlorophyll (Chl) in cyanobacteria.The environment-friendly light is very first absorbed by C-phycoerythrin which passes it on come C-phycocyanin (CPC). CPC further passes the light energy to allophycocyanin (APC) which move it to Chl because that photosynthesis, making use of the red light.

The factor phycobiliproteins absorb irradiate of various colors is the they contain chemistry molecules dubbed bilins within them, which give them their bright colors. This bilins space responsible for soaking up light the one color and also emitting irradiate of another color, therefore causing a adjust in the color of light. Advanced instruments have actually let united state analyze the setup of these molecules and proteins in the cyanobacteria. We recognize that phycobiliproteins room shaped choose disks <3>, and also the disks are stacked on height of each other to form the hat-like structure. One finish of the ridge is make of CPE, whereas the other end is make of CPC. This assembly joins to the core, make of APC. This whole structure is linked to Chl, which accepts the red irradiate emitted by APC. The arrangement of the hat-like structure has actually been displayed in figure 3.

How go the Light power Transfer Take ar in Phycobiliproteins?

The change in light color from green to red takes ar through a process known as fluorescence. Let united state see what fluorescence is. Imagine a transparent container filled with a pink-colored fluid that, once illuminated v a flashlight, shines a glowing orange! that is exactly what CPE does (Figure 4). All phycobiliproteins own this interesting property of providing off visible light of a shade different indigenous the shade of light that is shone ~ above them. After CPE changes green light to yellow-orange, CPC takes increase the yellow-orange light and also changes that to light red. APC takes up this light-red light and changes it come a deep red light because that Chl. So, currently we have actually the eco-friendly light readjusted to red, which is the shade of light the nature to plan Chl to absorb. The entire process is a kind of a relay race, wherein each participant picks up where the vault one left turn off (Figure 5). These phycobiliproteins are an important part that the small microscopic organisms called cyanobacteria, which lug out photosynthesis in much the same means as land plants do. The only distinction is that they use a different collection of chemical molecules—cyanobacteria usage phycobiliproteins while soil plants use Chl.

Figure 4 - Fluorescence residential property of C-phycoerythrin (CPE).The white color of the light developed by the flashlight is adjusted to yellowish-orange light by CPE, to be taken increase by C-phycocyanin.
Figure 5 - Phycobiliproteins change the color of light from eco-friendly to red, so the it have the right to be provided for photosynthesis.The green-colored light is taken increase by C-phycoerythrin (CPE), which transforms the color of the irradiate to yellowish orange. The orange irradiate is taken increase by C-phycocyanin (CPC), which further alters it to light red. The irradiate red color is soaked up by allophycocyanin (APC), which alters it come red color. The red color is finally took in by chlorophyll, for producing food with photosynthesis.

What Did us Learn?

So, us now know that photosynthesis is the procedure by which plants create their food, making use of Chl. We additionally know that the reduced amount of light accessible in the oceans decreases this photosynthesis process. Nature has developed some helper chemistry molecules well-known as phycobiliproteins, which are able come absorb the colour of light accessible in the oceans and turn this light into a color that Chl molecules have the right to use. This phycobiliproteins are uncovered in tiny, invisible-to-the-naked-eye cyanobacteria, whose photosynthesis is responsible for providing food because that the life organisms in the seas and likewise for making the oxygen in our setting that us breathe every second. Isn’t it interesting that these small organisms have the right to make together a distinction to marine life? In the future, us hope come gain more understanding that the features of phycobiliproteins and the duties that they might play because that the advantage of mankind.


Photosynthesis: A process by i m sorry plants produce food for themselves and other organisms utilizing sunlight and also carbon dioxide gas.

Chlorophyll: A chemical molecule existing in plants that absorbs the sunshine for photosynthesis.

Phycobiliproteins: fancy pigments uncovered in cyanobacteria and specific other organisms, which help in photosynthesis through absorbing details colors of irradiate which chlorophyll cannot absorb.

Fluorescence: The home of specific compounds come absorb one color of light and to offer off an additional color. Phycobiliproteins usage this building to adjust the color of light they absorb so that the light can be provided for photosynthesis.

Conflict of attention Statement

The authors declare the the research study was performed in the lack of any type of commercial or financial relationships that might be taken as a potential dispute of interest.


This manuscript has actually been assigned it is registered number CSIR-CSMCRI – 114/2016. TG gratefully acknowledges AcSIR because that Ph.D. Enrollment and also CSIR (CSC 0105) for financial support.


<1> Sidler, W. A. 1994. Phycobilisome and also phycobiliprotein structure. In: Bryant, D. A., editor. The molecule Biology of Cyanobacteria. Dordrecht: Springer. P. 139–216.

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<2> Ghosh, T., Paliwal, C., Maurya, R., and also Mishra, S. 2015. Microalgal rainbow colours for nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications. In: Bahadur, B., Venkat Rajam, M., Sahijram, L., and Krishnamurthy, K. V., editors. Tree Biology and also Biotechnology: Volume I: tree Diversity, Organization, function and Improvement. New Delhi: Springer. P. 777–91.

Ghosh T and Mishra S (2017) how Does Photosynthesis Take ar in our Oceans?. Front. Young Minds. 5:34. Doi: 10.3389/frym.2017.00034