Geochemical Sources and Availability of Amidophosphates on the Early Earth

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amidophosphates, diamidophosphate, early earth, phosphorylation, prebiotic chemistry

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Phosphorylation of (pre)biotically relevant molecules in aqueous medium has recently been demonstrated using water-soluble diamidophosphate (DAP). Questions arise relating to the prebiotic availability of DAP and other amidophosphosphorus species on the early earth. Herein, we demonstrate that DAP and other amino-derivatives of phosphates/phosphite are generated when Fe3P (proxy for mineral schreibersite), condensed phosphates, and reduced oxidation state phosphorus compounds, which could have been available on early earth, are exposed to aqueous ammonia solutions. DAP is shown to remain in aqueous solution under conditions where phosphate is precipitated out by divalent metals. These results show that nitrogenated analogues of phosphate and reduced phosphite species can be produced and remain in solution, overcoming the thermodynamic barrier for phosphorylation in water, increasing the possibility that abiotic phosphorylation reactions occurred in aqueous environments on early earth.

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Angewandte Chemie International Edition, v. 58, issue 24, p. 8151-8155