New Publication !16th February 2019
201916th April 2019
Is the ocean full of small hybrid vehicles?
From an energy point of view, a microalga is a ‘vehicle’ containing two ‘engines’: the mitochondria, a combustion engine that uses carbon to produce energy and CO2, and the chloroplast, a solar panel that uses light to produce energy and O2. So is it a solar hybrid vehicle? The ChloroMito project aims to answer this question by studying oceanic microalgae (marine phytoplankton). Thanks to its formidable efficiency, this group of photosynthetic microorganisms assimilates as much CO2 as tropical forests, although it contains less plant biomass. Using optogenetic, 3D cell/subcellular imaging and time-resolved single-cell spectroscopy approaches, ChloroMito aims to demonstrate that the photosynthetic efficiency of phytoplankton comes from a very close coupling between its solar panel and the combustion engine.