Photosynthetic water oxidation by plants and cyanobacteria proceeds at a manganese complex bound to Photosystem II. It is a process of crucial importance for sustaining the atmospheric gas composition and for primary biomass production. The proposed fundamental research is aiming at an improved mechanistic understanding; European initiatives aiming at biological or bio-mimetic hydrogen production are supported. By identification of intermediates of the O2-formation a crucial 'bottleneck' in the field is tack led. By X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS, XANES, EXAFS) the changes in oxidation state and structure of protein-bound metal complexes in its functional cycle can be efficiently investigated (BioXAS method).
The proposed time-resolved BioXAS on intermediates in the oxygen-formation transition represents an innovative and novel experiment, which, to our best knowledge, is not pursued by any other group in the world. Of high priority is the training of the researcher in state-of-the-art BioXAS methodology to a level where he can prepare and lead BioXAS experiments independently, e. g. at the Beijing synchrotron. Further strategically objectives are (i) to strengthen and develop the BioXAS methodology in Europe and (ii) to establish the formation of BioXAS expertise in China and long-term Sino-European cooperation.
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