Photochemical charge separation in isolated reaction center-light harvesting 1 (RC-LH1) complexes from Rhodobacter sphaeroides was examined using time-resolved mid-infrared pump probe spectroscor. Absorption difference spectra were recorded between 1760 and 1610 cm with subpicosecond time resolution to characterize excited-state and radical pair dynamics in these complexes, via the induced absorption changes in the keto carbonyl modes of the bacteriochlorophylls and bacteriopheophytins. Experiments on RC-LH1 complexes with and without the polypeptide PufX show that its presence is required to achieve generation of the radical pair P(+)Q(A)(-) under mildly reducing conditions. In the presence of PufX, the final radical pair formed over a similar to 3 ns period was P(+)Q(A)(-), but in its absence the corresponding radical pair was P+HA-, implying that Q(A) was either absent in these PufX-deficient complexes or was prereduced. However, P(+)Q(A)(-) could be be generated in PufX-deficient complexes following addition of the oxidant DMSO, showing that Q(A) was present in these complexes and allowing the conclusion that under mildly reducing conditions charge separation was blocked after P+HA- due to the presence of an electron on Q(A). The data provide strong support for the hypothesis that one of the functions of PufX is to regulate the stability of Q(B)(-), ensuring the oxidation of Q(A)(-) in the presence of a reduced quinone pool and so preserving efficient photochemical charge separation under anaerobic conditions.