Energy transfer among the chromophores in phycocyanins measured by picosecond kinetics.
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Energy-transfer processes in the algal light-harvesting proteins, the phycocyanins, have been studied by means of picosecond absorption spectroscopy. After excitation at 530 nm, the absorption at several wavelengths in the range 480--669 nm decayed with a short time constant (picosecond) and a long time constant (greater than 1 ns). For C-phycocyanin, energy transfer from the beta to the alpha subunits is interpreted as being a likely candidate for the short time constant; the long time constant probably is the excitation lifetime of the chromophore on the alpha subunits. The time constants for energy transfer in monomers, trimers, and hexamers of C-phycocyanin extracted from a blue-green alga, Phormidium luridum, were measured as approximately 85, approximately 56, and approximately 32 ps, respectively. The corresponding time constant in the cryptomonad phycocyanin 645 from Chroomonas species was found to be less than 5 ps.