By Jerome J. Wolken
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Additional resources for Photoprocesses, Photoreceptors, and Evolution
We now must identify the molecules which are capable of absorbing this energy and which are associated with each of the photoprocesses. Later we will widen our discussion to include the various types of photoreceptors that contain these molecules and their molecular structure. From this information we can hope to deduce relationships between the molecules which absorb and transduce radiant energy and the photoprocesses: photosynthesis by plants, vision in animals, and other phenomena. Since photosensitivity is so widespread in nature, is it possible to trace its evolutionary aspect at the molecular, structural, and chemical level in a way that would be helpful to our understanding of the phylogenetic pro gression?
1). Chlorophyll More than a century ago it was recognized that the pigment chlorophyll, synthesized by all green plants, is directly associated with photosynthesis. But the chemical structure of chlorophyll was not definitely established until 1913 by Willstäter and Stoll, and then later by Fischer and Stern (1940). Only re cently has chlorophyll a been successfully synthesized in the laboratory by Woodward (1961). The structure of chlorophyll was established as a cyclic tetrapyrrole mole cule, which has the empirical formula CssH^Os^Mg.
Some of the anaerobes adapted simply by retreating into the oxy gen-free muds where they are still found today. Others either developed new mechanisms of oxygen detoxification or merely disappeared. Through various detoxification mechanisms the fermenters were able to dispose of the small amount of oxygen then in the environment. Many, if not all, of the various fermenting bacteria were equipped with well-developed systems for the repair of DNA. Such systems were necessary to counteract the damaging effect of ultraviolet radiation, which at that time was intense, for there was no ozone (O3) in the atmosphere to filter it out.