In this work we have applied picosecond and steady-state fluorescence measurements to study excitation energy transfer and trapping in intact Cyclotella meneghiniana diatom cells grown at different light intensities. Different excitation and detection wavelengths were used to discriminate between Photosystem I and II (PSI and PSII) kinetics and to study excitation energy transfer from the outer antenna to the core of PSI and PSII. It is found that the light-harvesting fucoxanthin chlorophyll proteins (FCPs) transfer their excitation energy predominantly to PSII. It is also observed that the PSII antenna is slightly richer in red-absorbing fucoxanthin than the FCPs associated with PSI. The average excitation trapping time in PSI is around 75 ps whereas this time is around 450 ps for PSII in cells grown in 20 µmol of photons per m2 per s. The latter time decreases to 425 ps for 50 µmol of photons and 360 ps for 140 µmol of photons. It is concluded that cells grown under higher photon flux densities have a smaller antenna size than the ones grown in low light. At the same time, the increase of growth light intensity leads to a decrease of the relative amount of PSI. This effect is accompanied by a substantial increase in the amount of chlorophyll a that is not active in excitation energy transfer and most probably attached to inactivated/disassembled PSII units.
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