📰 Microalgae can detect a light source from a single photon


Plankton moves according to light, thanks to an amazing detection capability. In fact, researchers from the Matter and Complex Systems laboratory have shown that a single photon could be enough to attract the microalgae of the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This work could help facilitate Culture (Culture is a pan-galactic civilization invented by Iain M. Banks through his …) algae and shed light on the formation of green tides.

Colorful example of algae self-organization in front of light (Light is the set of electromagnetic waves visible to the eye …) heterogeneous.
© Ramamonjy et al.

In the world (The word world can refer to 🙂 from plankton (Homer designated the animals that roam the surface of the waves with plankton, from the Greek …) and microalgae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is well known to researchers. It is in fact used as a model for the photosynthesis (Photosynthesis (Greek φῶς phōs, light and …) single-celled organisms for about fifty years, as well as in the work of physicist (Physics (from the Greek φυσις, nature) is etymologically the …) as a model of swimmer. These algae can also be mutated to produce biohydrogen or molecules of pharmaceutical interest, which is done forimmediate (The instant designates the smallest constituent element of time. The instant is not …) in the laboratory waiting for the transition to the industrial scale. One of the obstacles, more generally encountered in culture (UNESCO’s definition of culture is as follows [1] 🙂 microalgae, arises from the need to constantly stir thewater (Water is an omnipresent chemical compound on Earth, essential for everyone …) where I am Suspension (The act of suspending particles In chemistry, suspension designates a dispersion of …). Phototaxis – the ability of algae to move towards a light source – could be used to create such movements at a lower energy cost.

Studying the phenomenon, the researchers of the laboratory It matters (Matter is the substance that makes up any body having a tangible reality. Its …) and complex systems (master’s degree (In France a Master is a higher education diploma accredited by …)CNRS / University Paris (Paris is a French city, capital of France and capital of the region …) Quoted) have shown that the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii they are so sensitive to light that they detect sources that have emitted only one photon (In particle physics, the photon (often symbolized by the letter γ – gamma) …), so get close if you get at least one every ten seconds. Algae populations can also self-organize in the face of aa field (A field corresponds to a notion of defined space 🙂 irregular light, creating striking patterns. These results are published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Scientists placed these algae in Petri dishes immersed in darkness. As for the development of photographs, a light red (The red color responds to different definitions, depending on the color system we are making …) is everything (The whole understood as the whole of what exists is often interpreted as the world or …) also present to observe the manipulations: the algae are not able to detect it color (Color is the eye’s subjective perception of one or more wave frequencies …)which therefore does not disturb the measurements. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii it is sensitive to green light. A laser (A laser is a device that emits light (electromagnetic radiation) …) of this shade was used and, after passing through a Net (A computer network is a set of equipment connected to each other to exchange information …) of filters and lenses, only a tiny bundle remains.

This is how the researchers were able to carry out their experiments and observe the reactions of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The team is continuing this work, specifically to measure the impact of speed (We stand out 🙂 flows on the cell divisions of microalgae, or even to test their reaction to light beams of different shapes. These studies could also help to better understand the formation of green tides, which are due more to a problem of migration of algae under the effect of light than to their proliferation alone.

Non-linear phototaxis and instability in light-seeking algae suspensions
Aina Ramamonjy, Julien Dervaux and Philippe Brunet.
Physical Review Letters2022.

– Julien Dervaux – Head of Research (Scientific research primarily refers to all actions undertaken with a view to …) to CNRS (The National Center for Scientific Research, better known by the acronym CNRS, is the largest …)Matter and Complex Systems Laboratory (CNRS, University (A university is a higher education institution whose goal is the …) Paris Cité) – julien.dervaux on
Communication (Communication concerns both man (intrapsychic, interpersonal communication, etc.) INSIS – insis.communication on

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