Portland State University. Department of Chemistry
Date of Award
Master of Science (M.S.) in Chemistry
1 online resource (41 p.)
Amino acids, Kaolinite, Polymerization
In the origin of life on the primitive earth a major step must have involved the condensation of amino acids to form the first polypeptides. Several suggestions as to how this might have occurred have been made by other workers. One of the more appealing proposals is that the polymerization was catalyzed by clay minerals. It has been reported, for example, that L-apartic acid polymerizes significantly faster than D-aspartic in the presence of kaolinite in aqueous suspension at 90˚. In this work an attempt was made to repeat this report and extend the pH range to include values presumably present on the prebiotic earth. No evidence for polymerization of L-aspartic acid were found.
Polymerization of glycine under dry conditions in the presence of kaolinite and sodium borate was also investigated. Although small amounts of glycylglycine and glycylglycylglycine were detected there was no evidence that the reaction is enhanced by the presence of kaolinite.
Adnani-Gleason, Z. Badri, "Polymerization of Amino Acids on Kaolinite" (1976). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2375.