Previous work had shown that cyanophage viruses have some photosynthesis genes, apparently used to keep the host cyanobacteria on life support during the infection, which otherwise knocks out the cells' basic functions.
They believe the viral complex has a unique shape that makes cyanophage photosynthesis hyperefficient.
"So it is possible that as much as 5 per cent of the world's oxygen production results from cyanophage infected cells," he added.
Now, according to a report in New Scientist, Oded Beja from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa said that the cyanophages' photosynthetic proficiency doesn't stop there.
According to the team, the viral photosystem I genes allow the cyanophages to not only take electrons from the proteins involved in photosythesis but also from other algal proteins.