Scientists solve structure enabling cyanobacteria to thrive in low light

Scientists have determined the structure of the protein complex that gives cyanobacteria their unique ability to convert weak, filtered sunlight into useable energy. Their findings could one day be used to engineer crops that thrive under low-light conditions.

When cyanobacteria live in low-light conditions, such as beneath a pond surface or under the leaf litter on a forest floor, some are able to switch from using the visible light that is most conducive to their growth and photosynthetic activities to harvesting the weaker, far-red sunlight that filters down to them. IMAGE: SHIREEN DOOLING, BIODESIGN INSTITUTE AT ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY