Photosynthesis in the Archean Era

  title={Photosynthesis in the Archean Era},
  author={John Melvin Olson},
  journal={Photosynthesis Research},
  • J. Olson
  • Published 2 February 2006
  • Environmental Science
  • Photosynthesis Research
The earliest reductant for photosynthesis may have been H2. The carbon isotope composition measured in graphite from the 3.8-Ga Isua Supercrustal Belt in Greenland is attributed to H2-driven photosynthesis, rather than to oxygenic photosynthesis as there would have been no evolutionary pressure for oxygenic photosynthesis in the presence of H2. Anoxygenic photosynthesis may also be responsible for the filamentous mats found in the 3.4-Ga Buck Reef Chert in South Africa. Another early reductant… 
Moving to the Light: The Evolution of Photosynthesis
  • R. Ligrone
  • Environmental Science
    Biological Innovations that Built the World
  • 2019
Photosynthesis enabled early life to severe its ancestral dependence on geochemistry. The paleogeochemical record suggests that photosynthetic life colonized the planet photic zone as early as 3.4
Early anaerobic metabolisms
It is calculated, consistent with the carbon isotope record and other considerations of the carbon cycle, that marine rates of primary production at this time were probably an order of magnitude (or more) less than today.
Photoferrotrophy: Remains of an Ancient Photosynthesis in Modern Environments
Modern environments resembling the redox conditions of these ancient oceans can offer insights into the past significance of photoferrotrophy and help to explain how this metabolism operated as an important source of organic carbon for the early biosphere.
Cyanobacterial emergence at 2.8 gya and greenhouse feedbacks.
A greenhouse transition timescale on the order of 50-100 million years is consistent with results from modeling the carbonate-silicate cycle, and is an alternative hypothesis to proposals of a tectonic driver for this apparent greenhouse transition.
Oxygenic photosynthesis as a protection mechanism for cyanobacteria against iron-encrustation in environments with high Fe2+ concentrations
It is proposed that, due to limited mass transfer, high photosynthetic activity in Fe2-rich environments forms a protective zone where Fe2+ precipitates abiotically at a non-lethal distance from the cyanobacteria.
Cyanobacteria: Pioneers of Planet Earth
Having reviewed most of these aspects of cyanobacteria, it is concluded that knowledge on these little known organisms would be invaluable not only for students, scientists and environmentalists but also for industrialists and policy makers.
The Evolution of Photosynthesis and its
Photosynthesis in plants is a very complicated process, utilizing two photosystems in series to carry out the very energy-demanding process of oxidizing water to molecular oxygen and reducing carbon
Oxygen produced by cyanobacteria in simulated Archaean conditions partly oxidizes ferrous iron but mostly escapes—conclusions about early evolution
This hypothesis that oxygen-evolving (proto)cyanobacteria must have existed throughout the Archaean aeon is tested by growing cyanobacteria in anaerobic high-CO2 atmosphere in a medium with a high concentration of ferrous iron, suggesting that current cyanob bacteria would have tolerated the high-iron content of Archaean oceans.


Photosynthesis 3.5 thousand million years ago
Values of δ13C for sedimentary organic carbon strongly suggest autotrophic CO2 fixation, and the existence of large deposits of sedimentary sulfate is consistent with a photosynthesis dependent on reduced sulfur compounds for reducing power.
2-Methylhopanoids as biomarkers for cyanobacterial oxygenic photosynthesis
It is shown that 2-methylbacteriohopanepolyols occur in a high proportion of cultured cyanob bacteria and cyanobacterial mats and are abundant in organic-rich sediments as old as 2,500 Myr, which may help constrain the age of the oldest cyanobacteria and the advent of oxygenic photosynthesis.
The evolution of the sulfur cycle
There are 2 principal avenues of inquiry relevant to reconstructing the history of the sulfur cycle. One avenue relies on the comparison of molecular sequences derived from biologically essential
Photosynthetic microbial mats in the 3,416-Myr-old ocean
It is concluded that photosynthetic organisms had evolved and were living in a stratified ocean supersaturated in dissolved silica 3,416 Myr ago.
‘Evolution of Photosynthesis’ (1970), re-examined thirty years later
  • J. Olson
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    Photosynthesis Research
  • 2004
The original conviction that the evolution of photosynthesis was intimately connected with the origin of life has been replaced with the realization that photosynthesis may have been invented by the Bacteria after their divergence from the Archea.
Thinking About the Evolution of Photosynthesis
The transition from anoxygenic to oxygenic photosynthesis took place when the cyanobacteria learned how to use water as an electron donor for carbon dioxide reduction, and before that, ferrous iron may have been the original source of reducing power.
Photo-oxidation of hydrated Fe2+—significance for banded iron formations
The Precambrian banded iron formations (BIFs) are the major iron ore sources on the Earth. They consist of extensive iron-rich and iron-poor layers within siliceous sedimentary rocks1,2. The banding
Questioning the evidence for Earth's oldest fossils
The purported microfossil-like structure is reinterpreted as secondary artefacts formed from amorphous graphite within multiple generations of metalliferous hydrothermal vein chert and volcanic glass, and a Fischer–Tropsch-type synthesis of carbon compounds and carbon isotopic fractionation is inferred for one of the oldest known hydroThermal systems on Earth.
Carbon isotopic fractionation by Archaeans and other thermophilic prokaryotes
Chlorobium ferrooxidans sp. nov., a phototrophic green sulfur bacterium that oxidizes ferrous iron in coculture with a “Geospirillum” sp. strain
Since the phototrophic partner in the coculture KoFox is only moderately related to the other members of the cluster, it is proposed as a new species, Chlorobium ferrooxidans, within the green sulfur bacteria phylum.