Thermal polyamino acids: synthesis at less than 100 degrees C

Science  02 Jul 1976:
Vol. 193, Issue 4247, pp. 68-70
DOI: 10.1126/science.935858


Thermally prepared polyamino acids, regarded as models for prebiotic protein, typically have been synthesized at 120 degrees to 200 degrees C. In this study, three different sets of amino acid mixtures were found to yield material of relatively high molecular weight (molecular sieving and diffusion techniques) when heated for up to 81 days at 85 degrees, 75 degrees, and 65 degrees C. These temperatures, which today are generated by radiation from the sun in some terrestrial locales, probably were more common on the prebiotic earth than those above the boiling point of water. The results thus suggest that prebiotic polyamino acids may have been relatively common and widespread.