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Prussian blue linked to the origin of life
Date:12/14/2009

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".


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