Navigation Links
Prussian blue linked to the origin of life

A team of researchers from the Astrobiology Centre (INTA-CSIC) has shown that hydrogen cyanide, urea and other substances considered essential to the formation of the most basic biological molecules can be obtained from the salt Prussian blue. In order to carry out this study, published in the journal Chemistry & Biodiversity, the scientists recreated the chemical conditions of the early Earth.

"We have shown that when Prussian blue is dissolved in ammoniac solutions it produces hydrogen cyanide, a substance that could have played a fundamental role in the creation of the first bio-organic molecules, as well as other precursors to the origin of life, such as urea, dimethylhydantoin and lactic acid", Marta Ruiz Bermejo, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Astrobiology Centre (CSIC-INTA), tells SINC.

Urea is considered to be an important reagent in synthesising pyrimidines (the derivatives of which form part of the nucleic acids DNA and RNA), and it has been suggested that hydantoins could be the precursors of peptides and amino acids (the components of proteins), while lactic acid is also of biological interest because, along with malic acid, it can play a role in electron donor-recipient systems.

The researcher and her team have proved that these and other compounds originate from the cyanide liberated by the salt Prussian blue (the name of which refers to the dye used in the uniforms of the Prussian Army) when it is subjected for several days to conditions of pH12 and relatively high temperatures (70-150C) in a damp, oxygen-free ammoniac environment, similar to early conditions on Earth. The results of the study have been published recently in the journal Chemistry & Biodiversity.

"In addition, when Prussian blue decomposes in this ammoniac, anoxic environment, this complex salt, called iron (III) hexacyanoferrate (II), also turns out to be an excellent precursor of hematite, the most stable and commonly found form of iron (III) oxide on the surface of the Earth", explains Ruiz Bermejo.

Hematite is related to the so-called Banded Iron Formations (BIF), the biological or geological origin of which is the source of intense debate among scientists. The oldest of these formations, more than two billion years old, have been found in Australia.

The researchers have confirmed in other studies that Prussian blue can be obtained in prebiotic conditions (from iron ions in methane atmosphere conditions with electrical discharges). The synthesis of this salt and its subsequent transformation into hematite offers an alternative model to explain the formation of the banded iron in abiotic conditions in the absence of oxygen.

Ruiz Bermejo concludes that Prussian blue "could act as a carbon concentrator in the prebiotic hydrosphere, and that its wet decomposition in anoxic conditions could liberate hydrogen cyanide and cyanogen, with the subsequent formation of organic molecules and iron oxides".


Contact: SINC
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

Related biology news :

1. Lifelong memories linked to stable nerve connections
2. Bacterial gut symbionts are tightly linked with the evolution of herbivory in ants
3. Sugary cola drinks linked for first time to higher risk of gestational diabetes
4. Teenage obesity linked to increased risk of MS
5. Childrens blood lead levels linked to lower test scores
6. Panama butterfly migrations linked to El Nio, climate change
7. Panama butterfly migrations linked to El Niño, climate change
8. NRL begins Southeast Asia study of aerosols linked to global warming
9. Michigan Tech scientists identify genes linked to Lou Gehrigs disease
10. Diesel exhaust is linked to cancer development via new blood vessel growth
11. DNA mutations linked to diabetes
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Prussian blue linked to the origin of life
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015   MedNet Solutions ... the entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to ... High Tech Association (MHTA) as one of only three ... the "Software – Small and Growing" category. The Tekne Awards ... who have shown superior technology innovation and leadership. ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015  Connected health pioneer, Joseph C. Kvedar ... technology-enabled health and wellness, and the business opportunities that ... The Internet of Healthy Things . Long before ... existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, ... moving care from the hospital or doctor,s office into ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... October 27, 2015 Munich, ... Gaze Mapping technology (ASGM) automatically maps data from mobile ... Glasses , so that they can be quantitatively ... Munich, Germany , October 28-29, 2015. ... data from mobile eye tracking videos created with ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... CITY , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna ... affirms that its business and prospects remain fundamentally ... , Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB recommendation ... to completion following review of the final interim ... Phase 2 Primary Endpoint in men with heavily ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... a fireside chat discussion at the Piper Jaffray 27th ... . The discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2, ... .  A replay will be available for 14 days ... , Julie NormartVP, Corporate Communications and Business Development , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Jessica Richman and ... early in their initial angel funding process. Now, they are paying it forward ... make early stage investments in the microbiome space. In this, they join ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Dr. ... Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished ... , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass pathology in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: