Re: More Proteinoid Information

Arthur V. Chadwick (
Mon, 31 May 1999 12:51:47 -0700

At 07:57 PM 5/29/99 EDT, Kevin wrote:
>Greetings to One and All:
>Some time ago Art Chadwick presented a series of objections to proteinoids
>being proto-proteins. One was that only pure amino acids could be used and
>another that the percentages carboxylic animo acids (glutamate and
>required to make proteinoids did not reflect the percentages made under
>actual simulated prebiotic conditions. At the time I offered evidence that
>showed that these objections were wrong, but since then I have found
>additional information that reinforces that conclusion.
>Saunders MA and Rohlfing DL. "Polyamino Acids: Preparation from Reported
>Proportions of 'Prebiotic' and Extraterrestrial Amino Acids." _Science_
>1972; 176:172-3. This paper describes how proteinoids were made from
>mixtures of amino acids whose percentages reflect those produced by several
>simulated prebiotic experiments. One conducted by Miller consisting of
>electricity to create amino acids from a gaseous mixture of ammonia,
>hydrogen and water. The resulting mixture obtained consisted of 50.6%
>glycine, 27.3% alpha-alanine, 21.3% other amino acids and only 0.3%
>and 0.5% glutamate; in other words only 0.8% carboxylic amino acids. Yet a
>mixture of amino acids with these same exact proportions still made
>proteinoids. So it would seem that proteinoids can be made with less than
>glutamate/aspartate, which in turn conforms to virtually any simulated
>prebiotic scenario. This same paper also demonstrated that proteinoids can
>be made from mixtures of amino acids representing amino acid proportions
>found in lunar soil samples and meteorites.

Fox originally used a mix that predominated in glutamic and aspartic acids
(1 Asp : 1 Glu : 1 other 18 aa),, because these were the only amino acids
that melted. All other combinations that he tried were destroyed by the
heating required to thermally polymerize the mix. While other workers have
by careful manipulation of the reaction conditions been able to do what Fox
could not, they still used as starting materials, pure amino acids. This
is the telling point. If they could get the mix produced by Miller to make
proteinoids (as opposed to pure amino acids in the ratio found by Miller et
al) then they might have something to talk about (like maybe, how to
synthesize the difficult amino acids they needed). Also check out the
methodology of their experiment and tell me if you think that could ever
have happened on the primitive earth (i.e. without the chemist). Then you
can begin to address the question of the concentration of amino acids on
the primitive earth. The most optimistic estimates give concentrations of
.0001 and more realistic estimates are between .00001 and .000001 grams per
liter in the prebiotic sea, even assuming a reducing atmosphere. There are
lots of other problems to be solved as well. But keep on searching. There
is a Nobel prize just waiting for you or someone who solves the
macromolecules to cell transition (assuming someone first is able to solve
the monomers to macromolecule problem outside the laboratory).
>Rohlfing DL. "Evolution of Models for Evolution." In k Dose, SW Fox, GA
>Deborin and TE Pavlovskaya, eds., _The Origin of Life and Evolutionary
>Biochemistry_ . Plenum Publishing, New York, 1974. This article provides
>evidence that proteinoids can be made even when mixed with 8 times as much
>finely ground basalt as total amino acid weight.

Good. Now let them try it with a pinch of Miller's product or a bit of
sugar added.

It also reports that (at
>that time) more recent unpublished experiments showed that sea sand could
>actually increase the yield of proteinoids produced. So not only do the
>amino acids not have to be pure or even the major constituent, some
>impurities can actually stimulate the formation of proteinoids as well.

Who has worked with impure amino acids? Sand may be viewed as an impurity
if it is added to your food, but hardly from a biochemical standpoint.
Have a great day!