View Full Version : Primordial Soup samples finally analyzed

2014-Jun-27, 02:22 PM
From Laboratory Equipment magazine (http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/samples-1950s-finally-analyzed?et_cid=4018954&et_rid=54636800&type=headline)

Stanley Miller, the chemist whose landmark experiment published in 1953 showed how some of the molecules of life could have formed on a young Earth, left behind boxes of experimental samples that he never analyzed. The first-ever analysis of some of Miller’s old samples has revealed another way that important molecules could have formed on early Earth.

The study discovered a path from simple to complex compounds amid Earth’s prebiotic soup. More than four billion years ago, amino acids could have been attached together, forming peptides. These peptides ultimately may have led to the proteins and enzymes necessary for life’s biochemistry, as we know it.

In the new study, scientists analyzed samples from an experiment Miller performed in 1958. To the reaction flask, Miller added a chemical that at the time wasn’t widely thought to have been available on early Earth. The reaction had successfully formed peptides, the new study found. The new study also successfully replicated the experiment and explained why the reaction works.


In the experiment from 1958, Stanley Miller had the idea to use the organic compound cyanamide in the reaction. Scientists had previously thought that the reaction with cyanamide would work only in acidic conditions, which likely wasn’t widely available on early Earth. The new study showed that reactive intermediates produced during the synthesis of amino acids enhanced peptide formation under the basic conditions associated with the spark discharge experiment.

“What we’ve done is shown that you don’t need acid conditions; you just need to have the intermediates involved in amino acid synthesis there, which is very reasonable,” Bada says.

It is worth reading the entire article for the background on the history of the samples.

2014-Jun-27, 03:39 PM
Mmmm, leftover soup.

2014-Jul-06, 08:02 PM
I think there was an experiment with a hypersonic gun (AMES?) where impact generation was tested. Not enough energy to get a result IIRC.