Plant Biophysics Project
Photosynthesis is our main research topic, and the group has a long record in research on the adverse effects of strong light on photosynthesis. We have focused on Photosystem II, the oxygen-production machine of life, and have developed research methods based on chlorophyll a fluorescence and thermoluminescence. Recently our research has focused on the electron carrier plastoquinone. We also do applied research on precision agriculture and on the use of algae in wastewater applications.
Although light is the source of energy for photosynthesis, light also continuously damages the photosynthetic apparatus in the process called photoinhibition. Photosystem II is the target, and in the light, plants, algae and cyanobacteria have to continuously repair Photosystem II to continue photosynthesis. The molecular mechanism of photoinhibition is still under debate, and our group has proposed the manganese mechanism which is one of the main hypotheses.
We work on all aspects of photoinhibition, including the molecular mechanism, photoprotective mechanisms, and importance of photoinhibition to the growth of photosynthetic organisms. In photoinhibition, we have worked a lot with wavelengths and intensities of light as tools, and have recently extended this work to study the redox state of plastoquinone, an electron carrier that also functions as a source of signals in photoacclimation of plants and algae. In applied research, we have worked on automatic identification of plants, currently using drones to obtain data from fields. Our work with algae focuses on establishing continuous cultivation process in wastewater.
Photosynthesis is the engine of life, as it is the only process that converts sunlight to biologically useful energy. Photosynthesis produces all food, and photosynthesis is also the only mechanism for the production of bioenergy. Therefore understanding basic photosynthesis and its regulation, and understanding how various stresses affect photosynthesis, is a question of life and death for the future of humankind.