Principles of natural photosynthesis

Vera Krewald, Marius Retegan, Dimitrios A. Pantazis

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section

58 Citations (SciVal)


Nature relies on a unique and intricate biochemical setup to achieve sunlight-driven water splitting. Combined experimental and computational efforts have produced significant insights into the structural and functional principles governing the operation of the water-oxidizing enzyme Photosystem II in general, and of the oxygen-evolving manganese–calcium cluster at its active site in particular. Here we review the most important aspects of biological water oxidation, emphasizing current knowledge on the organization of the enzyme, the geometric and electronic structure of the catalyst, and the role of calcium and chloride cofactors. The combination of recent experimental work on the identification of possible substrate sites with computational modeling have considerably limited the possible mechanistic pathways for the critical O–O bond formation step. Taken together, the key features and principles of natural photosynthesis may serve as inspiration for the design, development, and implementation of artificial systems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSolar Energy for Fuels
EditorsH. Tuyhuz, C. K. Khan
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9783319230993
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameTopics in Current Chemistry


  • Manganese
  • Oxygen-evolving complex
  • Photosystem II
  • Water oxidation


Dive into the research topics of 'Principles of natural photosynthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this