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Science. 1997 Apr 11;276(5310):245-7.

Activated acetic acid by carbon fixation on (Fe,Ni)S under primordial conditions.

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Department of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Technische Universität München, Lichtenbergstrasse 4, D-85747 Garching, Germany.


In experiments modeling the reactions of the reductive acetyl-coenzyme A pathway at hydrothermal temperatures, it was found that an aqueous slurry of coprecipitated NiS and FeS converted CO and CH3SH into the activated thioester CH3-CO-SCH3, which hydrolyzed to acetic acid. In the presence of aniline, acetanilide was formed. When NiS-FeS was modified with catalytic amounts of selenium, acetic acid and CH3SH were formed from CO and H2S alone. The reaction can be considered as the primordial initiation reaction for a chemoautotrophic origin of life.

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