Biological water oxidation: Lessons from Nature

Mohammad Mahdi Najafpour, Atefeh Nemati Moghaddam, Suleyman I. Allakhverdiev, Govindjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrogen production by water splitting may be an appealing solution for future energy needs. To evolve hydrogen efficiently in a sustainable manner, it is necessary first to synthesize what we may call a 'super catalyst' for water oxidation, which is the more challenging half reaction of water splitting. An efficient system for water oxidation exists in the water oxidizing complex in cyanobacteria, algae and plants; further, recently published data on the Manganese-calcium cluster have provided details on the mechanism and structure of the water oxidizing complex. Here, we have briefly reviewed the characteristics of the natural system from the standpoint of what we could learn from it to produce an efficient artificial system. In short, to design an efficient water oxidizing complex for artificial photosynthesis, we must learn and use wisely the knowledge about water oxidation and the water oxidizing complex in the natural system. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Photosynthesis Research for Sustainability: from Natural to Artificial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1110-1121
Number of pages12
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • Artificial photosynthesis
  • Manganese-calcium cluster
  • Natural photosynthesis
  • Water oxidation
  • Water oxidizing complex
  • Water splitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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