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A Universal Geochemical Scenario for Formamide Condensation and Prebiotic Chemistry

AuthorsSaladino, Raffaele; Di Mauro, Ernesto; García Ruiz, Juan Manuel
Issue Date19-Sep-2018
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
John Wiley & Sons
CitationChemistry - a European Journal 25: 3181- 3189 (2019)
AbstractThe condensation of formamide has been shown to be a robust chemical pathway affording molecules necessary for the origin of life. It has been experimentally demonstrated that condensation reactions of formamide are catalyzed by a number of minerals, including silicates, phosphates, sulfides, zirconia, and borates, and by cosmic dusts and meteorites. However, a critical discussion of the catalytic power of the tested minerals, and the geochemical conditions under which the condensation would occur, is still missing. We show here that mineral self-assembled structures forming under alkaline silica-rich solutions are excellent catalysts for the condensation of formamide with respect to other minerals. We also propose that these structures were likely forming as early as 4.4 billion years ago when the whole earth surface was a reactor, a global scale factory, releasing large amounts of organic compounds. Our experimental results suggest that the conditions required for the synthesis of the molecular bricks from which life self-assembles, rather than being local and bizarre, appears to be universal and geologically rather conventional.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.201803889
Identifiersdoi: 10.1002/chem.201803889
issn: 1521-3765
Appears in Collections:(IACT) Artículos
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