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Proceedings Paper

Influence of salts, including amino acids, on the rate and outcome of the in-water prebiotic reactions
Author(s): Vera M. Kolb
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Paper Abstract

Most prebiotic reactions are hypothesized to have occurred in water. However, organic compounds in general are not water-soluble. This has created a great problem for prebiotic chemistry. However, it has been shown recently that many organic materials which are not soluble in water are still capable of reacting in water, often at faster rates than in the organic solvents. This has provided a new era in the study of the prebiotic reactions. Simulated prebiotic reactions are typically performed in water. However, presence of inorganic salts and the amino acids was ubiquitous in the aqueous media on the prebiotic Earth. We thus address the influence of common salts and selected water-soluble amino acids on the rate and outcome of selected prebiotic reactions in water. We focus on Diels-Alder (DA) reaction and multicomponent Passerini reaction (PR), as models for other prebiotic reactions. Some of the results came from our laboratory, and others are from the literature. DA reaction is influenced by salts and by selected water-soluble amino acids, but generally not to a large extent. The PR is also influenced by salts, but not dramatically. However, concentrations of salts and amino acids could have been extremely high in various local niches on the early Earth, and the influence of such concentrations on these prebiotic reactions awaits further study.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 September 2013
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 8865, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XVI, 88650O (26 September 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2027990
Show Author Affiliations
Vera M. Kolb, Univ. of Wisconsin-Parkside (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8865:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XVI
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Nalin C. Wickramasinghe, Editor(s)

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