Quantum yield measurements were made with the red alga Porphyridium cruentum, cultured so as to give different proportions of chlorophyll and phycobilins. Totally absorbing suspensions were used so that there was no uncertainty in the amount of energy absorbed. These measurements have shown that chlorophyll, in this alga, has a photosynthetic efficiency as high as in other algal groups, and higher than the phycobilins—at least at wave lengths shorter than about 650 mµ. Wave lengths longer than this are beyond the range of maximum efficiency of chlorophyll. Under specified conditions of temperature and supplementary light full efficiency may be extended to longer wave lengths. The results of these measurements have made it unnecessary to suppose that in red algae chlorophyll plays a minor role while the phycobilins are the photosynthetic sensitizers of primary importance.
The Quantum Yield of Photosynthesis in Porphyridium cruentum, and the Role of Chlorophyll a in the Photosynthesis of Red Algae
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Marcia Brody, Robert Emerson; The Quantum Yield of Photosynthesis in Porphyridium cruentum, and the Role of Chlorophyll a in the Photosynthesis of Red Algae . J Gen Physiol 1 November 1959; 43 (2): 251–264. doi: https://doi.org/10.1085/jgp.43.2.251
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