Photochemical activity of isolated chloroplasts (Hill reactions)

  • K. A. Clendenning
Part of the Handbuch der Pflanzenphysiologie / Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology book series (532, volume 5)


Residual photosynthetic reactions in isolated chloroplasts have now been studied for about eighty years. The modern period of quantitative research in this field began with the work of R. Hill (1937). Upon suspending freshly isolated chloroplasts in dilute solutions of an artificial oxidant (ferric oxalate), Hill discovered that photochemical oxygen formation occurred in the absence of carbon dioxide assimilation. This discovery in itself contributed to knowledge of the photosynthetic mechanism, since it showed that oxygen evolution and carbon dioxide assimilation are separable components of photosynthesis. Subsequent research on “the Hill reaction” has contributed information on the photosynthetic mechanism along a number of different lines. Comparative studies of photosynthesis and of water photolysis (the Hill reaction) have allowed several photosynthetic characteristics to be categorized as attributes either of the photochemical driving mechanism or of the dark synthetic reactions of photosynthesis. The Hill reaction has allowed the mechanism of water photolysis to be analyzed under simpler conditions than prevail in the complete process of photosynthesis. Upon replacing artificial oxidants with natural oxidant systems, the Hill reaction can be linked to dark photosynthetic reactions (photosynthesis in vitro).


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1960

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  • K. A. Clendenning

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