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Enantiomeric crystallization from Dl-aspartic and Dl-glutamic acids: implications for biomolecular chilarity in the origin of life

Viedma Molero, Cristóbal (2001) Enantiomeric crystallization from Dl-aspartic and Dl-glutamic acids: implications for biomolecular chilarity in the origin of life. Origins of life and evolution of the biosphere, 31 . pp. 501-509. ISSN 0169-6149

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Abstract

Amino acids in living systems consist almost exclusively of the L-enantiomer. How and
when this homochiral characteristic of life came to be has been a matter of intense investigation
for many years. Among the hypotheses proposed to explain the appearance of chiral homogeneity,
the spontaneous resolution of conglomerates seems one of the most plausible. Racemic solids may
crystallize from solution either as racemic compounds (both enantiomeric molecules in the same
crystal), or less commonly as conglomerates (each enantiomer molecule separate in different enantiomeric
crystals). Only conglomerates can develop a spontaneous resolution (one of the enantiomeric
molecule crystallizes preferentially, the other one remains in solution). Most of natural amino acids
are racemic compounds at moderate temperatures. How can we expect a hypothetical spontaneous
resolution of these amino acids if they are not conglomerates? In this paper we show how DLaspartic
and DL-glutamic amino acids (racemic compounds), crystallize at ambient conditions as true
conglomerates. The experimental conditions here described, that allows this ‘anomalous’ behaviour,
could be also found in natural sedimentary environments. We suggest that these experimental procedures
and its natural equivalents, have a potential interest for the investigation of the spontaneous
resolution of racemic compounds comprising molecules associated with the origin of life.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Amino acids, Chirality, Crystallization, Enantiomer, Origin of life, Resolution
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Crystallography
ID Code:16564
Deposited On:01 Oct 2012 09:34
Last Modified:01 Oct 2012 09:34

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