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Origins of life

Amino acids derivatives synthesis from nitrogen, carbon and water by electric discharges.


PMID 6799889

Abstract

Electric discharges between a pair of carbon electrodes were continued for 50 days in a vessel of 5 liters in volume which initially contained nitrogen at a pressure of 15 cm Hg and 200 ml of water. The pressure in the vessel was gradually increased to 60 cm Hg at the end of the run. Gas chromatographic analysis showed that the increase of the pressure mainly results from the production of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The concentration of ammonia in the aqueous sample was increased to 0.05 M in 50 days of the discharge. After hydrolysis, glycine and serine were detected at the concentrations of 3.4 x 10(-3) M and 0.057 x 10(-3) M in the final solution, respectively, though glycine was found only at the concentration of 6 x 10(-6) M before hydrolysis. TLC analysis indicated the presence of hydantoic acid, N-formylglycine, diketopiperazine, and polymers of glycine.

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