Erica Wisner wrote:Interesting about the light wavelengths' effects on proteins ... but is there really a "gap" where proteins don't break down under visible light? Or do we just not see the proteins that break down under visible light very often because of selective pressures? (Animals made of lipids or proteins that break down in ordinary daylight wouldn't last long on the surface of our planet. Maybe in deep-sea or underground environments? We have definitely evolved better protection - coatings, pigments, and behaviors - as we've spread around the globe, from waxy plants to mud-bathing elephants to well-brought-up Midwesterners and their sensible sweaters.)
DH wrote:There is a safe zone for proteins. The gap between UV and IR absorption damage is log units deep. UV promotes electronic transitions in aromatic organic molecules that facilitate undesired intermolecular bonding or photodissociation. Far IR promotes vibrational transitions that encourage atomic nuclei in atoms to line up in low energy configurations (cooking).
But you can't photodamage or cook proteins with a visible light. Those little halogen ovens are using the IR, not the visible.
Erica Wisner wrote:Some snakes have IR heat-sensitive pits in their snouts, an adaptation for hunting at night or underground? Or maybe to avoid pissing off your venomous mate with a bumbling approach while entering the dark burrow.