What is the difference between photosystem 1 and 2

(Energy conversion phase: Formation of ATP and NADPH)

The major difference between photosystems 1 and 2 is that photosystem 1 lies on the outer surface of the thylakoids and it receives electrons from photosystem 2 while photosystem 2 lies on the inner surface of the thylakoids and it receives electrons from photolytic dissociation of water.

photosystem 1 and 2 diagram

difference between photosystem 1 and 2 in Tabular form

Photosystem  IPhotosystem  II
The analysis of water does not occur.It is related to the photolysis of water.
The reaction center is P700.Its reaction center is P680.
It is rich in chlorophyll A then Chlorophyll BIt is rich in chlorophyll B then Chlorophyll A
Molecular oxygen is not evolved.Photosystem II, as a result of the photolysis of water molecular oxygen, is evolved.
Receive electrons from photosystem II.Receive electrons from photolytic dissociation of water.
Pigments absorb longer (>680nm) wavelengths of lightPigments absorb shorter (<680nm) wavelengths of light
In this reaction, NADPH is formed.While in this reaction, NADPH is not formed.
It can participate in both cyclic and non-cyclic photophosphorylation.Just participates in non-cyclic photophosphorylation.
The core complex is composed by a smaller number of protein.The core complex is composed multi-subunit of about 25-30 sub-units.
Lies on the outer surface of the thylakoid membraneLies on the inner surface of the thylakoids.
PS I have an iron-sulfur type reaction center.PS II is a Quinone type reaction center
The major function is NADPH synthesis.Its main function is the hydrolysis of water and ATP synthesis.

What is Photosystem?

The photosynthetic pigments absorb the sunlight. This sunlight drives the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthetic pigments are organized into clusters called photosystems. These photosystems absorb and utilize solar energy efficiently in the thylakoid membranes. Each photosystem is composed of two parts.

Antenna Complex: It is a light-gathering part. It is composed of many molecules of chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, and carotenoids. Light energy absorbed by the antenna complex is transferred to the reaction center.

Reaction center: It converts light energy into chemical energy. It has one or more molecules of chlorophyll a. Chlorophyll a molecule of reaction center and other associated proteins are closely linked to nearby primary electron acceptor and electron transport system. These associated parts are:

(i) Primary Electron Acceptor: It is associated with the reaction center. It traps the high energy electron from the reaction center. It then passes this electron to the series of electron carriers.

(ii) Electron Transport Chain: It is associated with chlorophyll a molecule. The electron transport chain plays an important role in the synthesis of ATP by chemiosmosis.

Types of Photosystem

There are two types of photosystems photosystem I (PS I) and photosystem II (PS Il). They are named so due to their order of discovery.

  • Photosystem I: It has chlorophyll molecules. It absorbs maximum light of 700nm. So it is called P700.
  • Photosystem lI: lt has also chlorophyll molecules in its reaction center. This chlorophyll absorbs best the light of 680nm. So this chlorophyll is called P600.

Types of Electron Transport or Electron Flow in Photosystem

There are two types of electron transport:

  • Non-cyclic electron flow: It is the most common type of electron flow. In this case, the electron passes through two photosystems. The formation of ATP during non-cyclic flow is called non-cyclic phosphorylation.
  • Cyclic electron flow: It is a less common type of electron flow. In this case, only the photosystem I am involved in. The formation of ATP during cyclic electron flow is called cyclic phosphorylation.

Non- cyclic phosphorylation

The path of an electron through the two photosystems during non-cyclic photophosphorylation is called Z- scheme. It forms the Z-shape path.

  1. Photosystem II absorbs light. An electron is excited to a higher energy level in the reaction center of the chlorophyll P680. This electron is captured by the primary electron acceptor of PS II. The oxidized chlorophyll is now a very strong oxidizing agent. Its electron-hole must be filled.
  2. An electron is extracted from the water by an enzyme. This electron fills the hole of the chlorophylls P680. This reaction splits the water molecules into two hydrogen ions and an oxygen atom. This oxygen atom combines with another oxygen atom to form O2. This oxygen is the main source of the replenishment of the atmospheric oxygen. The splitting of water and the release of oxygen during photosynthesis is called photolysis.
  3. Each photoexcited electron passes from the primary electron acceptor of the photosystem II to photosystem I through an electron transport chain. This electron transport chain has the following electron carriers:
  • Plastoquinone (Pq).
  • A complex of two Cytochromes.
  • Plastocyanin (PC): It is a copper-containing protein.
  1. As the electrons move down the chain, their energy goes on decreasing. This energy is used by the thylakoid membranes to synthesize ATP. “The synthesis of ATP due to light energy is called photophosphorylation”. The ATP synthesis during non-cyclic electron flow is called non-cyclic photophosphorylation. This ATP produced during light-dependent reactions will be used during the synthesis of sugar in the Calvin cycle (dark reaction).
  2. The P700 chlorophyll of the Photosystem absorbs light energy and drives electrons to the primary acceptor of the photosystem I. It creates a hole in the molecule of P700.

The electrons of the photosystem II reaches the bottom of the electron transport chain and fill the electron-hole in Chlorophyll P700 molecule of photosystem I.

  1. The primary electron acceptor of the photosystem I transfer the photoexcited electrons to a second electron transport chain. This second transport chain transfers these electrons to ferredoxin (Fd). The Fd is an iron-containing protein. An enzyme NADP reductase transfers the electron from Fd to NADP. This is the redox reaction. It stores the high-energy electrons in NADPH. The NADPH molecule will provide reducing power for the synthesis of sugar in the Calvin cycle.

Cyclic Phosphorylation

Sometimes, the photoexcited electrons take an alternative path. This path is called a cyclic electron flow. This path uses only photosystem I. It does not use photosystem II. This cycle may take place when there is less amount of ATP for the Calvin cycle. It slows down the cycle.

So, the NADPH accumulates in the chloroplast. This rise in NADPH may simulate the temporary shifting from non-cyclic to cyclic electron flow. The cyclic electron flow continues until the ATP supply fulfills the demand. So the cyclic flow is a short circuit. Following steps take place during cyclic phosphorylation:

  1. P700 of the photosystem I absorb light. This light energy drives electrons from P7 of the photosystem I to the primary electron acceptor. It produces electron-hole in the chlorophyll.
  2. The primary electron acceptor of photosystem I transfer the photoexcited electrons to ferredoxin (Fd).
  3. The electrons are transferred from ferredoxin (Fd) to the Cytochromes complex (ETC).

4. Finally, the Cytochromes complex returns these electrons to excited chlorophylls of the P700. A molecule of ATP is produced during this transfer of electrons through ETC by chemiosmosis. The NADPH is not produced and oxygen is also not released. As the same excited electrons are returned back to the excited chlorophyll by producing a molecule of ATP, so it is called cyclic phosphorylation.

difference between photosystem 1 and photosystem 2

difference between photosystem 1 and 2


The mechanism for the ATP synthesis is chemiosmosis in cyclic and non- cyclic phosphorylation. It is a process that uses membranes during a redox reaction for ATP production. The electron transport chain (ETC) pumps the protons (H+) across the thylakoids. The energy used for this pumping is provided by the movement of an electron through the ETC.

This energy is transferred into potential energy. This potential energy is stored in the form of an H+ gradient across the membrane. Then these hydrogen ions move down to form the gradient through the ATP synthase complex. The ATP synthase complexes are present within the thylakoid membranes. The energy of the electrons is used for the synthesis of ATP during the passing of electron through the ATP synthase enzyme.

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