Enantiomeric Enrichment on the Prebiotic Earth

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Abstract

Evaporation of an aqueous solution of a chiral, nonracemic (partially resolved) amino acid or hydroxy acid from a clay or silica surface is shown to produce crystals in six cases that possess increased concentrations of the more abundant enantiomer.The increases range from a factor of 1.2 as the low to a high greater than 6-fold above the near 8% enantiomeric excess starting levels. This newly discovered enantiomeric enrichment process is presented in the context of it having been a possible instrument in the attainment of levels of configurational homogeneity sufficient for the emergence of life on Earth.

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