Komatiites as complex adsorption surfaces for amino acids in prebiotic environments, an essay in prebiotic chemistry

Komatiites represent the oldest known rocks on earth, and their composition has been cataloged as closest to that of the first earth’s crust after the cooling of the magmatic ocean.

These rocks could have been present in multiple environments on the early Earth and served as concentrators of organic molecules. In this study, the adsorption of five amino acids (glycine, lysine, histidine, arginine and aspartic acid) on a natural komatiite, a simulated komatiite, and the minerals olivine, pyroxene and plagioclase were analyzed under three different pH values: pH (5.5), natural pH of the aqueous solution of each amino acid and alkaline pH (11).

Adsorption experiments were carried out in solid-liquid suspensions and organic molecules were analyzed by spectrophotometry. The primary objective of this assay was to determine whether complex surfaces could have participated as amino acid concentrators in early Earth scenarios and whether adsorption responds to the charge change of molecules. The results showed that komatiite is able to adsorb amino acids in different amounts depending on the experimental conditions.

A total of 75 systems were analyzed which show different adsorptions, which implies that different interactions are involved, in particular depending on the type of amino acid, the type of solid matter and the conditions of the medium.

Komatiites as Complex Adsorption Surfaces for Amino Acids in Prebiotic Environments, An Essay in Prebiotic Chemistry, Life (Open Access)

by Abigail E. Cruz-Hernandez, Maria Colin-Garcia, Fernando Ortega-Gutierrez and Eva Mateo-Marti
Life 2022, 12(11), 1788; https://doi.org/10.3390/life12111788

Astrobiology

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