Review: Discovery of the canonical Calvin–Benson cycle (Photosynth Res)

It has been over seventy years since Melvin Calvin and Andrew Benson first started on their journey to discovering the Calvin-Benson cycle – the series of biochemical reactions in which the Sun’s energy is converted to chemical energy stored inside the cells of plants, cyanobacteria and algae.  In this very accessible review, Sharkey plots the history of this discovery, as-well-as the relative roles of, and relationships between, Benson, Calvin, and James ‘Al’ Bassham.  Of special interest is Sharkey’s description of the leap in knowledge from the earlier incomplete or erroneous pathways requiring the involvement of the tricarboxylic acid cycle, to the canonical Calvin-Benson cycle involving gluconeogenic reactions and carbohydrate metabolism. Sharkey reflects on the original pathway from 1954 by examining data acquired since its discovery, and presents the additional paths of carbon during photosynthesis and Calvin’s flawed thioctic acid theory (& an important footnote regarding the nomenclature of rubisco!).  (Summary by Mike Page) Photosynth Res 10.1007/s11120-018-0600-2