What Is Cyclic Electron Flow?

In biology, the cyclic electron flow is a process of biasing light reaction outputs so that photophosphorylation is increased over nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate production. This is a type of electron flow that can be found in the chloroplasts of certain plants, especially green ones. In this cases, it often results in photophosphorylation is the exclusive output of the light reactions, and there is no nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate production.

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants can convert light energy into food. Obviously, light plays a very important role in this process. The actions and movements of certain types of electrons can influence the end results of the light reactions that take place during this process. Most plants go through either non-cyclic electron flow or cyclic electron flow in order to dictate the products of light reactions during photosynthesis.

During cyclic electron flow, the electrons that move stop when they reach ferrodoxin. This is a contrast to non-cyclic electron flow, where they would normally continue on to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate. ATP molecules, the molecules that help to store energy at the end of photosynthesis, are created when the electrons make these unique transformations. In this way, energy is still created, but photophosphorylation is the primary function.