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Origins 2011 – Abstracts

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O6a: Contributed Orals – Prebiotic Chemistry
Time: Thursday, 07/Jul/2011: 9:15am - 10:30am
Session Chair: Raffaele Saladino
Location: Auditorium Pasteur


Synthesis of a peptide bond with slow electrons

Jan Hendrik Bredehöft, Esther Böhler, Petra Swiderek

Institute for Applied and Physical Chemistry, University of Bremen, Germany

The synthesis of formamide from CO and NH3 by means of low energy electrons is presented. Formamide is a model compound for the peptide bond. The low energy electrons used have energies similar to secondary electrons created from interaction of ionizing radiation with matter. These findings might make a prebiotic scenario possible in which biologically interesting macromolecules are not formed from monomers, but rather in condensed phase reactions, yielding said monomers only as a by-product.

UVolution, PROCESS and AMINO: compared photochemistry in low Earth orbit and in the laboratory of prebiotic organic compounds related to small bodies, Titan and Mars

Hervé Cottin1, Yuan Yong Guan1, Kafila Saiagh1, Fabien Stalport1, Emmanuel Arzoumanian1, Et-Touhami Essebbar2, Frédérique Macari1, Murielle Jérome1, Mégane Cloix1, Yves Bénilan1, Patrice Coll1, Nicolas Fray1, Marie-Claire Gazeau1, Antoine Jolly1, François Raulin1, Cyril Szopa3, Didier Chaput4, Marylène Bertrand5, Annie Chabin5, Frances Westall5, André Brack5

1LISA, UPEC/UPD/CNRS, France; 2King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; 3LATMOS, UPMC/UVSQ/CNRS, France; 4CNES, France; 5CBM, CNRS, France

Three experiments in Terrestrial orbit were carried out on a FOTON capsule and on the International Space Station. Organic molecules related to the study of Mars, Titan, meteorites or comets have been exposed in space between 10 days and 24 months . Samples returned to Earth after solar irradiation have been analyzed in the laboratory. After processing of the measurements, the photochemical lifetime of the molecules at 1 AU is calculated, and can be extrapolated at other heliocentric distances.

Abiotic CH4 gas and the role of dissolved CO2 in low temperature hydration of olivine.

Anna Neubeck1, Duc Thanh Nguyen1, David Bastviken2, Nils G. Holm1

1Stockholm University, Sweden; 2Linköping University, Sweden

An extensive series of olivine dissolution experiments at low temperatures (30°C, 50°C and 70°C) have all shown the accumulation of CH4 and H2 gas. However, in the experiments with dissolved CO2 concentrations close to contemporary ocean water there is an increase in CH4 compared to experiments with pure water, and in the bottles with ten times the oceanic dissolved CO2 concentration there is a much weaker increase in CH4 formation.

New Insights into Prebiotic Chemistry from Old Archived Miller Extracts

Eric T. Parker1,2, H. James Cleaves3, Jason P. Dworkin4, Daniel P. Glavin4, Michael P. Callahan4, Andrew D. Aubrey5, Antonio Lazcano6, Jeffrey L. Bada1

1Scripps Institution of Oceanography, United States of America; 2Georgia Institute of Technology, United States of America; 3Carnegie Institution of Washington, United States of America; 4NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Solar System Exploration Division, United States of America; 5NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, United States of America; 6Facultad de Ciencias, UNAM, Mexico

Stanley Miller’s volcanic apparatus mimicked early volcanic eruptions and produced a wider array of amino acids than his classic configuration. Here we report the analysis of previously unreported samples from a 1958 spark discharge experiment conducted by Miller, which emulated a primordial atmosphere including H2S. The samples yielded 23 amino acids and 4 amines. The imitated conditions provide insight into the roles early volcanic plume chemistry may have played in abiotic organic synthesis.

Self-replicating beta-sheet peptides

Gonen Ashkenasy, Boris Rubinov, Nathaniel Wagner

Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Replication of alpha-helix forming peptides has been the subject of intense research. However, it has been postulated that shorter and simpler peptides may serve as templates for replication if arranged into well defined structures. We will discuss the design, self assembly and replication kinetics of simple Glu-(Phe-Glu)n peptides that form 1D beta-sheet aggregates (Rubinov, Wagner, Rapaport, Ashkenasy "Self Replicating Amphiphilic beta-Sheet Peptides" Angew. Chem. 2009, 48, 6683).