Antenna systems serve to absorb light and to transmit excitation energy to the reaction center (RC) in photosynthetic organisms. As the emitted (bacterio)chlorophyll fluorescence competes with the photochemical utilization of the excitation, the measured fluorescence yield is informed by the migration of the excitation in the antenna. In this work, the fluorescence yield concomitant with the oxidized dimer (P+) of the RC were measured during light excitation (induction) and relaxation (in the dark) for whole cells of photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides lacking cytochrome c2 as natural electron donor to P+ (mutant cycA). The relationship between the fluorescence yield and P+ (fraction of closed RC) showed deviations from the standard Joliot–Lavergne–Trissl model: (1) the hyperbola is not symmetric and (2) exhibits hysteresis. These phenomena originate from the difference between the delays of fluorescence relative to P+ kinetics during induction and relaxation, and in structural terms from the non-random distribution of the closed RCs during induction. The experimental findings are supported by Monte Carlo simulations and by results from statistical physics based on random walk approximations of the excitation in the antenna. The applied mathematical treatment demonstrates the generalization of the standard theory and sets the stage for a more adequate description of the long-debated kinetics of fluorescence and of the delicate control and balance between efficient light harvest and photoprotection in photosynthetic organisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas