Polymer-Chlorosome Nanocomposites Consisting of Non-Native Combinations of Self-Assembling Bacteriochlorophylls

Gregory S. Orf, Aaron M. Collins, Dariusz M. Niedzwiedzki, Marcus Tank, Vera Thiel, Adam Kell, Donald A. Bryant, Gabriel A. Montano, Robert E. Blankenship

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Chlorosomes are one of the characteristic light-harvesting antennas from green sulfur bacteria. These complexes represent a unique paradigm: self-assembly of bacteriochlorophyll pigments within a lipid monolayer without the influence of protein. Because of their large size and reduced complexity, they have been targeted as models for the development of bioinspired light-harvesting arrays. We report the production of biohybrid light-harvesting nanocomposites mimicking chlorosomes, composed of amphiphilic diblock copolymer membrane bodies that incorporate thousands of natural self-assembling bacteriochlorophyll molecules derived from green sulfur bacteria. The driving force behind the assembly of these polymer-chlorosome nanocomposites is the transfer of the mixed raw materials from the organic to the aqueous phase. We incorporated up to five different self-assembling pigment types into single nanocomposites that mimic chlorosome morphology. We establish that the copolymer-BChl self-assembly process works smoothly even when non-native combinations of BChl homologues are included. Spectroscopic characterization revealed that the different types of self-assembling pigments participate in ultrafast energy transfer, expanding beyond single chromophore constraints of the natural chlorosome system. This study further demonstrates the utility of flexible short-chain, diblock copolymers for building scalable, tunable light-harvesting arrays for technological use and allows for an in vitro analysis of the flexibility of natural self-assembling chromophores in unique and controlled combinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6427-6438
Number of pages12
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 27 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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