Excitation energy transfer in the far-red absorbing violaxanthin/vaucheriaxanthin chlorophyll a complex from the eustigmatophyte alga FP5

  • Dariusz M. NiedzwiedzkiEmail author
  • Benjamin M. Wolf
  • Robert E. Blankenship
Original Article


This work highlights spectroscopic investigations on a new representative of photosynthetic antenna complexes in the LHC family, a putative violaxanthin/vaucheriaxanthin chlorophyll a (VCP) antenna complex from a freshwater Eustigmatophyte alga FP5. A representative VCP-like complex, named as VCP-B3 was studied with both static and time-resolved spectroscopies with the aim of obtaining a deeper understanding of excitation energy migration within the pigment array of the complex. Compared to other VCP representatives, the absorption spectrum of the VCP-B3 is strongly altered in the range of the chlorophyll a Qy band, and is substantially red-shifted with the longest wavelength absorption band at 707 nm at 77 K. VCP-B3 shows a moderate xanthophyll-to-chlorophyll a efficiency of excitation energy transfer in the 50–60% range, 20–30% lower from comparable VCP complexes from other organisms. Transient absorption studies accompanied by detailed data fitting and simulations support the idea that the xanthophylls that occupy the central part of the complex, complementary to luteins in the LHCII, are violaxanthins. Target analysis suggests that the primary route of xanthophyll-to-chlorophyll a energy transfer occurs via the xanthophyll S1 state.


Transient absorption Vaucheriaxanthin Light-harvesting complex Photosynthesis Chlorophyll a Violaxanthin 









Decay-associated difference spectra


Evolution-associated difference spectra


Efficiency of excitation energy transfer


Excited state absorption


Energy transfer




Full width at half maximum


High-performance liquid chromatography


Inter-system crossing


Light-emitting diode




Near infrared


Poly(methyl methacrylate)




Reaction center


Room temperature


Species-associated difference spectra


Transient absorption










Violaxanthin/vaucheriaxanthin chlorophyll a-(band 3)







Steady-state and time-resolved spectroscopic studies were performed in the Ultrafast Laser Facility of the Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center (PARC), an Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) funded by Grant #DE-SC 0001035. Benjamin M. Wolf was supported by the William H. Danforth Plant Science Fellowship.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11120_2019_615_MOESM1_ESM.docx (857 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 856 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering and Center for Solar Energy and Energy StorageWashington University in St LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Photosynthetic Antenna Research CenterWashington University in St LouisSt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyWashington University in St LouisSt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Department of ChemistryWashington University in St LouisSt. LouisUSA

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