Journal article

Abiotic synthesis of amino acids and self-crystallization under prebiotic conditions


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Publication Details

Author list: Cordova, Armando

Publication year: 2014

Start page: Art. no. 6769

ISSN: 2045-2322


View additional information: View in Web of Science


Building on previous research on the origin and homochirality of life, this study focuses on analyses profiling important building blocks of life: the natural amino acids. The spark discharge variation of the iconic Miller experiment was performed with a reducing gas mixture of ammonia, methane, water and hydrogen. Amino acid analysis using liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry after pre-column derivatizaiton revealed the generation of several amino acids including those essential for life. Re-crystallization of the synthetic products and enantiomeric ratio analysis were subsequently performed. Results from liquid chromatography coupled with either fluorescent detector or tandem mass spectrometry after pre-column derivatization with chiral reagent revealed spontaneous and effective asymmetric resolution of serine and alanine. This work describes a useful analytical platform for investigation of hypotheses regarding the origin and homochirality of amino acids under prebiotic conditions. The formation of numerous amino acids in the electric discharge experiment and the occurrence of high enantiomeric ratios of amino acids in re-crystallization experiment give valuable implications for future studies in unraveling fundamental questions regarding origins and evolution of life.


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