Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have discovered a natural process they describe as reverse photosynthesis. In the process, the energy in solar rays breaks down, rather than builds plant material, as is the case with photosynthesis. The sunlight is collected by chlorophyll, the same molecule as used in photosynthesis.
Combined with a specific enzyme the energy of sunlight now breaks down plant biomass, with possible uses as chemicals, biofuels or other products, that might otherwise take a long time to produce. By increasing production speed while reducing pollution, the discovery has the potential to revolutionize industrial production. The research results have now been published in Nature Communications.