* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received June 15, 2022; Revised July 13, 2022; Accepted July 14, 2022
The mechanism of bacteriochlorophyll photooxidation in light-harvesting complexes of a number of purple photosynthetic bacteria when the complexes are excited into the carotenoid absorption bands remains unclear for many years. Here, using narrow-band laser illumination we measured action spectrum of this process for the spectral ranges of carotenoid and bacteriochlorophyll. It is shown that bacteriochlorophyll excitation results in almost no photooxidation of these molecules, while carotenoid excitation leads to oxidation with quantum yield of about 0,0003. Low value of the yield enabled an assumption that the studied process is initiated by the triplet states of the main carotenoids of the complexes with the number of conjugated double-bond chain length of N = 11. Interaction of these states with oxygen facilitates formation, though with low efficiency, of the excited singlet oxygen, which oxidizes bacteriochlorophylls. The carotenoid triplet states are formed in the process of the earlier studied singlet-triplet fission. The obtained results point at the necessity of reconsidering the functions of carotenoids in the light-harvesting complexes of purple bacteria.
KEY WORDS: bacteriochlorophyll a, carotenoids, photooxidation, action spectrum, quantum yield, triplet states, singlet oxygen, light-harvesting complexes, purple sulfur bacteria