Tom van den Berg has won the poster prize at the Nordic Photosynthesis Conference (NPC15) in Gothenburg, Zweden. His research on the Loroxanthin Cycle was part of his PhD research in Amsterdam and is closely related to his work in the Plantenna consortium.
Phototsynthetic organisms live in a dynamic (light) environment where they constantly need to adjust their photosynthetic processes to prevent damage from a surplus of light or starvation due to a lack of light. One of the mechanisms by which they can adapt to changes in light conditions are the xanthophyll cycli. These are cycli that turn one carotenoid (the pigment that gives carrots their orange color) into another with different properties. We have described a new cycle in alga that helps in longer periods of low light by upregulating the energy transfer efficiency, meaning the alga can make better use of the light that it absorbs. An interesting aspect of this new cycle is that it has a lot of similarities with the cycle only found in plants, leading to the hypothesis that such a cycle provides photosynthetic organisms that experience longer periods of low light with a competitive advantage.
The poster is available in the appendix of this article. The paper connected to this poster can be found here.