2098 K
49 pp.
 
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TitleThe Path of Carbon in Photosynthesis [Nobel Prize Lecture]
Author(s)Calvin, Melvin
Publication DateDecember 11, 1961
Report NumberUCRL--9966
Unique IdentifierACC0327
Other NumbersOSTI ID: 928404
Research OrgUniversity of California Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Berkeley, CA; Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA (US) [LBL][LBNL]
Contract NoW-7405-eng-48; DE-AC02-05CH11231
Sponsoring OrgU.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)
Subject14 Solar Energy; Animals; Carbohydrates; Carbon; Carbon Dioxide; Chlorophyll; Combustion; Glucose; Heme; Photosynthesis; Solar Energy Conversion; Synthesis; Water
Related Web PagesMelvin Calvin and Carbon in Photosynthesis
AbstractIt is almost sixty years since Emil Fischer was describing on a platform such as this one some of the work which led to the basic knowledge of the structure of glucose and its relatives. Today we will be concerned with a description of the experiments which have led to a knowledge of the principal reactions by which those carbohydrate structures are created by photosynthetic organisms from carbon dioxide and water, using the energy of light. The speculations on the way in which carbohydrate was built from carbon dioxide began not long after the recognition of the basic reaction and were carried forward first by Justus von Liebig and then by Adolf von Baeyer and, finally, by Richard Wilstatter and Arthur Stoll into this century. Actually, the route by which animal organisms performed the reverse reaction, that is, the combustion of carbohydrate to carbon dioxide and water with the utilization of the energy resulting from this combination, turned out to be the first one to be successfully mapped, primarily by Otto Meyerhoi and Hans Krebs. Our own interest in the basic process of solar energy conversion by green plants began some time in the years between 1935 and 1937, during my postdoctoral studies with Professor Michael Polanyi at Manchester. It was there I first became conscious of the remarkable properties of coordinated metal compounds, particularly metalloporphyins as represented by heme and chlorophyll. A study was begun at that time, which is still continuing, on the electronic behavior of such metalloporphyrins. It was extended and generalized by the stimulus of Professor Gilbert N. Lewis upon my arrival in Berkeley. I hope these continuing studies may one day contribute to the understanding of the precise way in which chlorophyll and its relatives accomplish the primary quantum conversion into chemical potential which is used to drive the carbohydrate synthesis reaction.
2098 K
49 pp.
 
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