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Posted by on Aug 20, 2012 in Science |

First evidence of photosynthesis in insects

First evidence of photosynthesis in insects

Aphids, also known as aphids, may have a rudimentary system for collecting sunlight . Research carried out at Yale University suggests that the pigments of insects can absorb energy from the sun and transfer it to the cellular machinery involved in energy production.

are a family of insects of the suborder Sternorrhyncha pathogens. Currently you have about 4,000 species of aphids classified into 10 families. Unique among animals because of its ability to synthesize pigments called carotenoids, the same as other families of insects used for maintaining your immune system.

Although unprecedented in animals, this ability suggests that the aphids is common in other realms. Plants and algae or fungi and some bacteria also synthesize carotenoids and in all cases, the pigments are part of the photosynthetic machinery.

The researchers based their study on a number of aphids with high levels of carotenoids, trying to find answers to the production of these chemicals in their metabolism.

Carotenoids are responsible for the pigmentation of the aphid, and in turn, the color of an aphid determines the type of predator that can see it. The researchers measured levels of ATP, the amount of energy transfer in living things, watching some surprising results.

Green aphids, those containing high levels of carotenoids, were much more ATP than whites (almost devoid of pigment). In the analysis carried out, aphids oranges (those containing an intermediate amount of carotenoids) increased ATP production when they were placed in the light. However when placed in darkness fell.

The next step by the researchers was to analyze and purify carotenoids from orange aphids. The result showed that these extracts were those who could absorb light and transmit energy.

Results that, pending further analysis to verify the finding could indicate that (at least) aphids perform photosynthesis.

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