Quantum physics provides startling insights into biological processes

Quantum physics provides startling insights into biological processes

Can something be for instance in two different places at the same time? According to quantum physics, it can. More precisely, in line with the principle of 'superposition', a particle can be described as being in two different states simultaneously.

While it may sound like voodoo to the non-expert, superposition is based on solid science. Researchers in the PAPETS project are exploring this and other phenomena on the frontier between biology and . Their goal is to determine the role of vibrational dynamics in and olfaction.

Quantum 'superposition' makes photosynthesis more efficient

Quantum effects in a biological system, namely in a photosynthetic complex, were first observed by Greg Engel and collaborators in 2007, in the USA. These effects were reproduced in different laboratories at a temperature of around -193 degrees Celsius and subsequently at ambient temperature.

'What's surprising and exciting is that these have been observed in biological complexes, which are large, wet and noisy systems,' says PAPETS project coordinator, Dr. Yasser Omar, researcher at Instituto de TelecomunicaƧƵes and professor at Universidade de Lisboa. 'Superposition is fragile and we would expect it to be destroyed by the environment.'

Superposition contributes to more efficient energy transport. An exciton, a quantum quasi-particle carrying energy, can travel faster along the photosynthetic complex due to the fact that it can exist in two states simultaneously. When it comes to a bifurcation it need not choose left or right. It can proceed down both paths simultaneously.

'It's like a maze,' says Dr. Omar. 'Only one door leads to the exit but the exciton can probe both left and right at the same time. It's more efficient.'

Dr. Omar and his colleagues believe that a confluence of factors help to be effected and maintained, namely the dynamics of the vibrating environment, whose role is precisely what the PAPETS project aims to understand and exploit.

Theory and experimentation meet

The theories being explored by PAPETS are also tested in experiments to validate them and gain further insights. To study quantum transport in photosynthesis, for example, researchers shoot fast laser pulses into biological systems. They then observe interference along the transport network, a signature of wavelike phenomena.

'It's like dropping stones into a lake,' explains Dr. Omar. 'You can then see whether the waves that are generated grow bigger or cancel each other when they meet.'

Applications: more efficient solar cells and odour detection

While PAPETS is essentially an exploratory project, it is generating insights that could have practical applications. PAPETS' researchers are getting a more fundamental understanding of how photosynthesis works and this could result in the design of much more efficient solar cells.

Olfaction, the capacity to recognise and distinguish different odours, is another promising area. Experiments focus on the behaviour of Drosophila flies. So far, researchers suspect that the tunnelling of electrons associated to the internal vibrations of a molecule may be a signature of odour. Dr. Omar likens this tunnelling to a ping-pong ball resting in a bowl that goes through the side of the bowl to appear outside it.

This work could have applications in the food, water, cosmetics or drugs industries. Better artificial odour sensing could be used to detect impurities or pollution, for example.

'Unlike seeing, hearing or touching, the sense of smell is difficult to reproduce artificially with high efficacy,' says Dr. Omar.


Explore further

Quantum mechanics explains efficiency of photosynthesis

More information: For more information, see www.papets.eu/
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JVK
Jul 12, 2015
Excerpt: "PAPETS' researchers are getting a more fundamental understanding of how photosynthesis works and this could result in the design of much more efficient solar cells.

Olfaction, the capacity to recognise and distinguish different odours, is another promising area. Experiments focus on the behaviour of Drosophila flies. So far, researchers suspect that the tunnelling of electrons associated to the internal vibrations of a molecule may be a signature of odour. Dr. Omar likens this tunnelling to a ping-pong ball resting in a bowl that goes through the side of the bowl to appear outside it."
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Do you think they know they just linked the speed of light on contact with water to the de novo creation of amino acids and RNA-mediated events that link this tunneling to the experience dependent de novo creation of receptors and cell type differentiation in all genera via their physiology of reproduction?

http://chemse.oxf...abstract

Jul 12, 2015
Did you know JVK is a young earth creationist?

JVK
Jul 12, 2015
What is it about the promise of linking quantum physics to quantum smell and quantum biology to RNA-mediated cell type differentiation and nutrient-dependet receptor-mediated behavior in all living genera that threatens biologically uninformed science idiots?

From: Steven Taylor (aka Vietvet)
Location: United States
Date: 01/28/2015

James V. Kohl claims you incorporated his model of nutrient dependent, pheromone ecological adaptation in your Darwin novels. Any truth to that?

See the answer: http://www.gregbe...?id=8064
See also: "The Darwin Code: Intelligent Design without God"
http://rna-mediat...eg-bear/

Obviously, nothing about the conserved molecular mechanisms of RNA-mediated cell type differentiation has changed since the light-induced de novo creation of amino acids. Does anyone else have a problem with the virus-induced mutations that perturb protein folding and lead to pathology?

Jul 12, 2015
Got it. JVK is not denying he is a young earth creationist.

JVK
Jul 12, 2015
http://dx.doi.org...00900033 "...phenotypic variation decreases through geologic time, because microRNAs (miRNAs) increase genic precision, by turning an imprecise number of mRNA transcripts into a more precise number of protein molecules..."

That fact also links nutrient-dependent anti-entropic epigenetic effects on RNA-mediated cell type differentiation to control of viral microRNAs and genomic entropy. The result is increasing organismal complexity in all genera, but not by the evolution of proteins.

That's why my model starts with the light-induced de novo creation of amino acids. Besides, it is incredible ignorant to start with anything else and attempt to link it from ecological variation to ecological adaptations or extinction of all the earth's biomass.

Jul 13, 2015
"One of the most interesting challenges facing paleobiologists is explaining the Cambrian explosion, the dramatic appearance of most metazoan animal phyla in the Early Cambrian, and the subsequent stability of these body plans over the ensuing 530 million years."

http://onlinelibr...033/full

Strange that a young earth creationist like JVK would link to to a paper with that opening sentence.

Jul 13, 2015
@JVK

"Why are you still discussing theories? See, instead: http://phys.org/n...ion.html

See also: A quantum theory for the irreplaceable role of docosahexaenoic acid in neural cell signalling throughout evolution http://www.ncbi.n...23206328
Full text pdf: http://www.ars.us...2012.pdf

Excerpt: "While amino acids could be synthesised over 4 billion years ago, only oxidative metabolism...."

"The 4 billion years is an error."

Read more at: http://phys.org/n...html#jCp

You've put yourself in a box and you have two avenues to escape it. You can admit you are a young earth creationist (which you haven't denied) or you can fall back on one of your nonsensical word salads.


JVK
Jul 13, 2015
You are in the ridiculous position of being unable to explain why you believe in anything that you believe, which I claim is because you are a biologically uninformed science idiot.

If you are not, tell me what you believe allows for evolution to start and for it to lead to all of extant biodiversity during 4 billion years.

Jul 13, 2015
@JVK

Deflection is what I expected and that's what I got.

What is so difficult about explaing your statement: "The 4 billion years is an error"?

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