i was trained as a biotechnologist and have recently submitted mine thesis. While wait for mine defense, I assumed it would certainly be wonderful if I might share my knowledge while working v the group of Dr. Sandhya Mishra from central Salt and also Marine Chemicals study Institute, Gujarat, India. My research interests at this time involve finding out brand-new and exciting biological and also chemistry applications because that C-phycoerythrin, of i m sorry we have actually two or three different sources. In pursuit of my studies and goals, I thought it would be exorbitant to re-superstructure my experience in this ar with our budding scientists and researchers the people 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 for the previous two decades and my study group at this time focuses top top phycobiliproteins and also carotenoids indigenous cyanobacteria. Because our state has a lengthy coastline, us can constantly be found in part remote corner of Gujarat, and also yes, we love beaches and also the oceans! i have constantly tried to encourage and also motivate mine students to complimentary their creativity with skill and earlier it up using clinical experiments. *smishra

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The food us eat ultimately comes from plants, either straight or indirectly. The prominence of plants as the global kitchen deserve to never be underestimated. Tree “eat” sunlight and carbon dioxide to create their very own food and also food because that the numerous other organisms dependent top top them. A molecule, chlorophyll (Chl), is critical for this process, since it absorbs sunlight. However, the way land plants produce their food is an extremely different indigenous the method plants in the oceans develop their food. Because it is challenging for irradiate to with underneath the water in the oceans, food production, scientifically called photosynthesis, becomes an extremely slow. Phycobiliproteins room proteins the make this task easier, by taking in the accessible light and also passing it on to Chl. These phycobiliproteins are discovered in tiny, invisible organisms dubbed cyanobacteria. Your “food-producing” reaction are vital for the survival of countless living organisms like fish, birds, and also other sea life. The is, therefore, very important for everyone to understand just how cyanobacteria do their food, and what essential roles the phycobiliproteins beat in the process.

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How perform Living Things achieve Their Food?

When girlfriend think the food, carry out you generally come increase with images of your favorite food? This is a organic process, because food is essential for every living thing. To meet this basic need, all living points either make their very own food or gain it from some various other source. Humans have the right to eat both plants and animals. Some pets consume other animals, when some pets eat plants together their food. Ultimately, we watch that anyone on this planet is dependency on plants for your food. But then, what do plants eat? Actually, tree “eat” sunlight and a gas referred to as carbon dioxide, both the which room easily obtainable right below on earth. The process by which floor plants create their very own food using sunlight and also carbon dioxide is well-known as photosynthesis (Figure 1). While carbon dioxide is absorbed by the leaves, the sunshine is caught by a chemical molecule in the plant, called chlorophyll (Chl). All photosynthetic organisms contain Chl.

Figure 1 - A streamlined view of how plants produce food for us.The pipeline of green plants save chlorophyll, i beg your pardon absorbs sunshine for producing food. This food is then offered by the tree itself and other animals, including humans.

However, the method land plants do photosynthesis walk not assist the organisms living in the oceans, i m sorry cover virtually 70% of our earth. Tree in the oceans face problems v light availability. The blue and also green parts of light penetrate into the water much more than the yellow and red portions of light perform (Figure 2). Luckily, ocean plants get assist in developing food native such restricted light and carbon dioxide, from small microscopic microbes called cyanobacteria (also recognized as blue-green algae). These microbes have adapted to dim light conditions, and they lug out photosynthesis both because that themselves and also for the benefit of various other living things. Cyanobacteria are ancient microbes that have been living on our earth for billions of years. Cyanobacteria are said to it is in responsible for producing the oxygen-filled environment we live in <1>. For moving out photosynthesis in short light conditions, cyanobacteria have the help of proteins referred to as phycobiliproteins, which room found hidden in the cabinet membranes (the outer covering) of the cyanobacteria.

Figure 2 - Penetration of sunlight in oceans.Sunlight is written of various colors: V, violet; B, blue; G, green; Y, yellow; O, orange; and also R, red. The blue and green color reach up to 200 m within water, while every the various other colors including violet deserve to reach just up to the first 100 m within the oceans. The arrows stand for the depth to which various colors of light reach the oceans.

What are Phycobiliproteins?

Phycobiliproteins beat the function of aides to Chl in aquatic (water) environments. Due to the fact that light has actually a an overwhelming time penetrating right into the oceans, phycobiliproteins do this job much easier by soaking up whatever irradiate is available; lock absorb the green section of the light and turn it to red light, which is the shade of light required by Chl <2>. However, transforming the color of light is not as straightforward as the seems. The environment-friendly light needs to pass through different phycobiliprotein molecules, i m sorry absorb light of one color and give the end light of another color. The shade that is offered out is climate taken increase by a 2nd phycobiliprotein, which transforms it right into a third color. This process continues until the emitted light is red, which can lastly be taken increase by Chl. For this whole procedure to take it place, we have actually three various kinds that phycobiliprotein molecules arranged together a sort of a cap over the Chl molecule, together you can see in number 3. These three kinds of phycobiliproteins are:

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

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

(c) Allophycocyanin (APC), light blue in color and also responsible for taking in the red part of sunlight.

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

The reason phycobiliproteins absorb irradiate of various colors is the they contain chemical molecules called bilins inside them, which provide them their bright colors. These bilins space responsible for absorbing light the one color and emitting light of one more color, therefore causing a readjust in the color of light. Progressed instruments have actually let united state analyze the setup of these molecules and also proteins in the cyanobacteria. We know that phycobiliproteins are shaped choose disks <3>, and the disks space stacked on top of each various other to type the hat-like structure. One finish of the ridge is made of CPE, conversely, the other end is made of CPC. This assembly joins to the core, do of APC. This entire structure is connected to Chl, which accepts the red irradiate emitted through APC. The plan of the hat-like structure has been shown in figure 3.

How go the Light power Transfer Take location in Phycobiliproteins?

The adjust in light shade from green to red takes ar through a process known as fluorescence. Let united state see what fluorescence is. Imagine a transparent container filled through a pink-colored fluid that, as soon as illuminated v a flashlight, shines a glowing orange! that is exactly what CPE walk (Figure 4). Every phycobiliproteins own this exciting property of providing off visible light of a color different native the color of light the is shone on them. After ~ CPE changes green light to yellow-orange, CPC takes up the yellow-orange light and also changes the to light red. APC takes up this light-red light and changes it to a deep red light for Chl. So, currently we have actually the green light adjusted to red, which is the shade of light that nature to plan Chl come absorb. The entire process is a type of a relay race, whereby each participant picks up whereby the previous one left off (Figure 5). These phycobiliproteins are an essential part that the tiny microscopic organisms referred to as cyanobacteria, which lug out photosynthesis in much the same means as land plants do. The only distinction is that they use a different set of chemistry molecules—cyanobacteria usage phycobiliproteins while land plants usage Chl.

Figure 4 - Fluorescence building of C-phycoerythrin (CPE).The white shade of the light produced by the flashlight is adjusted to yellowish-orange light by CPE, to be taken increase by C-phycocyanin.
Figure 5 - Phycobiliproteins adjust the shade of irradiate from green to red, so that it have the right to be used for photosynthesis.The green-colored irradiate is taken up by C-phycoerythrin (CPE), which transforms the color of the irradiate to yellowish orange. The orange light is taken increase by C-phycocyanin (CPC), i m sorry further transforms it to light red. The light red shade is took in by allophycocyanin (APC), which transforms it to red color. The red color is finally soaked up by chlorophyll, for creating food v photosynthesis.

What Did we Learn?

So, we now recognize that photosynthesis is the procedure by i beg your pardon plants develop their food, using Chl. We also know that the reduced amount the light accessible in the seas decreases this photosynthetic process. Nature has advanced some helper chemical molecules recognized as phycobiliproteins, which space able to absorb the color of light easily accessible in the oceans and also turn this light right into a shade that Chl molecules deserve to use. These phycobiliproteins are discovered in tiny, invisible-to-the-naked-eye cyanobacteria, whose photosynthesis is responsible for providing food because that the living organisms in the oceans and additionally for make the oxygen in our atmosphere that we breathe every second. Isn’t it exciting that these tiny organisms can make such a difference to maritime life? In the future, we hope come gain much more understanding the the features of phycobiliproteins and the roles that they might play because that the benefit of mankind.


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

Chlorophyll: A chemistry molecule present in plants that absorbs the sunlight for photosynthesis.

Phycobiliproteins: colored pigments discovered in cyanobacteria and details other organisms, which aid in photosynthesis through absorbing details colors of irradiate which chlorophyll can not absorb.

Fluorescence: The property of details compounds to absorb one color of light and also to provide off one more color. Phycobiliproteins use this property to readjust the shade of irradiate they absorb so that the light can be supplied for photosynthesis.

Conflict of interest Statement

The writer declare that the study was carried out in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that might be understood as a potential problem of interest.


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


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

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

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