NPQ (non-photochemical quenching) is a fundamental photosynthetic mechanism by which plants protect themselves against excess excitation energy and the resulting photodamage. A discussed molecular mechanism of the so-called feedback de-excitation component (qE) of NPQ involves the formation of a quenching complex. Recently, we have studied the influence of formation of a zeaxanthin–chlorophyll complex on the excited states of the pigments using high-level quantum chemical methodology. In the case of complex formation, electron-transfer quenching of chlorophyll-excited states by carotenoids is a relevant quenching mechanism. Furthermore, additionally occurring charge-transfer excited states can be exploited experimentally to prove the existence of the quenching complex during NPQ.
Role of electron-transfer quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence by carotenoids in non-photochemical quenching of green plants
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A. Dreuw, G.R. Fleming, M. Head-Gordon; Role of electron-transfer quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence by carotenoids in non-photochemical quenching of green plants. Biochem Soc Trans 1 August 2005; 33 (4): 858–862. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BST0330858
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