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Life 2013, 3(3), 502-517; doi:10.3390/life3030502

Natural Pyrrhotite as a Catalyst in Prebiotic Chemical Evolution

1 Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), 28850 Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid 28850, Spain 2 Departamento de Mineralogía y Petrología, Facultad de Ciencia y Tecnología, Universidad del País Vasco, Bilbao 48080, Spain
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 June 2013 / Revised: 19 August 2013 / Accepted: 20 August 2013 / Published: 28 August 2013
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The idea of an autotrophic organism as the first living being on Earth leads to the hypothesis of a protometabolic, complex chemical system. In one of the main hypotheses, the first metabolic systems emerged from the interaction between sulfide minerals and/or soluble iron-sulfide complexes and fluids rich in inorganic precursors, which are reduced and derived from crustal or mantle activity. Within this context, the possible catalytic role of pyrrhotite, one of the most abundant sulfide minerals, in biomimetic redox and carbon fixation reactions was studied. Our results showed that pyrrhotite, under simulated hydrothermal conditions, could catalyze the pyruvate synthesis from lactate and that a dynamic system formed by coupling iron metal and iron-sulfur species in an electrochemical cell could promote carbon fixation from thioacetate esters.
Keywords: pyrrhotite; life origin; pyruvate; lactate; reductive carboxylation; thioesters pyrrhotite; life origin; pyruvate; lactate; reductive carboxylation; thioesters
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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de Aldecoa, A.L.I.; Roldán, F.V.; Menor-Salván, C. Natural Pyrrhotite as a Catalyst in Prebiotic Chemical Evolution. Life 2013, 3, 502-517.

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