Too bad that Nobel Prizes are only awarded to people — natural selection deserves dozens of them.
Scientists decode how plants avoid sunburn
Source: Arizona State University
Too much sun Ã¢â‚¬â€œ for plants as well as people Ã¢â‚¬â€œ can be harmful to long-term health. But to avoid the botanical equivalent of Ã¢â‚¬Å“lobster tans,Ã¢â‚¬Â plants have developed an intricate internal defense mechanism called photoprotection, which acts like sunscreen to ward off the sun’s harmful rays.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We knew that biomolecules called carotenoids participate in this process of photoprotection, but the question has been, Ã¢â‚¬ËœHow does this work?’ Ã¢â‚¬Â says Iris Visoly-Fisher, a postdoctoral research associate in the Biodesign Institute at ASU.
Carotenoids act as Ã¢â‚¬Å“wiresÃ¢â‚¬Â to carry away the extra sunlight energy in the form of unwanted electrons, somehow wicking away the extra electrons across long distances from locations that could damage plant tissues and photosynthesis.