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Life 2017, 7(2), 15; doi:10.3390/life7020015

Thermal Condensation of Glycine and Alanine on Metal Ferrite Surface: Primitive Peptide Bond Formation Scenario

1
Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee 247 667, Uttarakhand, India
2
Network of Researchers on Horizontal Gene Transfer and Last Universal, Common Ancestor Leeds, Leeds LS7 3RB, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Deamer
Received: 23 November 2016 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 24 March 2017 / Published: 27 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Landscape of the Emergence of Life)
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Abstract

The amino acid condensation reaction on a heterogeneous mineral surface has been regarded as one of the important pathways for peptide bond formation. Keeping this in view, we have studied the oligomerization of the simple amino acids, glycine and alanine, on nickel ferrite (NiFe2O4), cobalt ferrite (CoFe2O4), copper ferrite (CuFe2O4), zinc ferrite (ZnFe2O4), and manganese ferrite (MnFe2O4) nanoparticles surfaces, in the temperature range from 50–120 °C for 1–35 days, without applying any wetting/drying cycles. Among the metal ferrites tested for their catalytic activity, NiFe2O4 produced the highest yield of products by oligomerizing glycine to the trimer level and alanine to the dimer level, whereas MnFe2O4 was the least efficient catalyst, producing the lowest yield of products, as well as shorter oligomers of amino acids under the same set of experimental conditions. It produced primarily diketopiperazine (Ala) with a trace amount of alanine dimer from alanine condensation, while glycine was oligomerized to the dimer level. The trend in product formation is in accordance with the surface area of the minerals used. A temperature as low as 50 °C can even favor peptide bond formation in the present study, which is important in the sense that the condensation process is highly feasible without any sort of localized heat that may originate from volcanoes or hydrothermal vents. However, at a high temperature of 120 °C, anhydrides of glycine and alanine formation are favored, while the optimum temperature for the highest yield of product formation was found to be 90 °C. View Full-Text
Keywords: amino acids; oligomerization; peptide bond; metal ferrite; surface area amino acids; oligomerization; peptide bond; metal ferrite; surface area
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Iqubal, M.A.; Sharma, R.; Jheeta, S.; Kamaluddin. Thermal Condensation of Glycine and Alanine on Metal Ferrite Surface: Primitive Peptide Bond Formation Scenario. Life 2017, 7, 15.

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