Protein film photoelectrochemistry of the water oxidation enzyme photosystem II
Photosynthesis is responsible for the sunlight-powered conversion of carbon dioxide and water into chemical energy in the form of carbohydrates and the release of O2 as a by-product. Although many proteins are involved in photosynthesis, the fascinating machinery of Photosystem II (PSII) is at the heart of this process. This tutorial review describes an emerging technique named protein film photoelectrochemistry (PF-PEC), which allows for the light-dependent activity of PSII adsorbed onto an electrode surface to be studied. The technique is straightforward to use, does not require highly specialised and/or expensive equipment, is highly selective for the active fractions of the adsorbed enzyme, and requires a small amount of enzyme sample. The use of PF-PEC to study PSII can yield insights into its activity, stability, quantum yields, redox behaviour, and interfacial electron transfer pathways. It can also be used in PSII inhibition studies and chemical screening, which may prove useful in the development of biosensors. PSII PF-PEC cells also serve as proof-of-principle solar water oxidation systems; here, a comparison is made against PSII-inspired synthetic photocatalysts and materials for artificial photosynthesis.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Chem Soc Rev Emerging Investigators