Photosynthetic Hydrogen and Oxygen Production: Kinetic Studies

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Science  15 Jan 1982:
Vol. 215, Issue 4530, pp. 291-293
DOI: 10.1126/science.215.4530.291


Steady-state turnover times for simultaneous photosynthetic production of hydrogen and oxygen have been measured for two systems: the in vitro system comprised of isolated chloroplasts, ferredoxin, and hydrogenase, and the anaerobically adapted green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii [137c(+) mating type]. In both systems, the simultaneous photoproduction of hydrogen and oxygen was measured by driving the systems into the steady state with repetitive, single-turnover, flash illumination. The turnover times for production of both oxygen and hydrogen in photosynthetic water splitting are in milliseconds and are equal to or less than the turnover time for carbon dioxide reduction in intact algal cells. The oxygen and hydrogen turnover times are therefore compatible with each other and partially compatible with the excitation rate of the photosynthetic reaction centers under conditions of solar irradiation.