Are there ecological implications for the proposed energetic restrictions on photosynthetic oxygen evolution at high oxygen concentrations?

Photosynth Res. 2007 Oct;94(1):31-42. doi: 10.1007/s11120-007-9211-z. Epub 2007 Jul 5.


It has recently been shown that, in subthylakoid particles prepared using detergent, there is inhibition of oxygen production reactions in photosynthesis by thermodynamic feedback from oxygen build-up, with 50% inhibition at 230 kPa partial pressure of oxygen. This article presents a comprehensive analysis of laboratory data on the effects of high oxygen partial pressures on photosynthesis, and on photo-lithotrophic and chemo-organotrophic growth, of oxygen-producing organisms. The article also contains an analysis of the extent to which high oxygen concentrations occur at the site of photosystem II (PSII) activity under natural conditions today and in the past. The conclusion is that the oxygen concentrations found in nature are very unlikely to reach that needed to cause 50% inhibition of the photosynthetic oxygen production reaction in subthylakoid particles, but that it is just possible that a small part of the inhibition of photosynthesis and of photo-lithotrophic growth by oxygen can be attributed to inhibition of oxygen production by PSII.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Ecology*
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Photosynthesis*
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex / metabolism


  • Photosystem II Protein Complex
  • Oxygen