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Challenges 2014, 5(1), 175-192; doi:10.3390/challe5010175

Enantioselective Crystallization of Sodium Chlorate in the Presence of Racemic Hydrophobic Amino Acids and Static Magnetic Fields

1
Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Carretera de Ajalvir km 4, Torrejón de Ardoz 28850, Madrid, 28850, Spain
2
Department of Particulate Materials ICMM-CSIC, Sor Juana Inés de La Cruz 3, Cantoblanco 28049, Madrid, 28049, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 March 2014 / Revised: 7 May 2014 / Accepted: 13 May 2014 / Published: 5 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Astrobiology)
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Abstract

We study the bias induced by a weak (200 mT) external magnetic field on the preferred handedness of sodium chlorate crystals obtained by slow evaporation at ambient conditions of its saturated saline solution with 20 ppm of added racemic (dl) hydrophobic amino acids. By applying the Fisher test to pairs of experiments with opposing magnetic field orientation we conclude, with a confidence level of 99.7%, that at the water-air interface of this saline solution there is an enantioselective magnetic interaction that acts upon racemic mixtures of hydrophobic chiral amino acids. This interaction has been observed with the three tested racemic hydrophobic amino acids: dl-Phe, dl-Try and dl-Trp, at ambient conditions and in spite of the ubiquitous chiral organic contamination. This enantioselective magnetic dependence is not observed when there is only one handedness of added chiral amino-acid, if the added amino acid is not chiral or if there is no additive. This effect has been confirmed with a double blind test. This novel experimental observation may have implications for our view of plausible initial prebiotic scenarios and of the roles of the geomagnetic field in homochirality in the biosphere. View Full-Text
Keywords: astrobiology; prebiotic organic reactions in water; homochirality; magnetic field; racemic hydrophobic amino acids; geomagnetic field; terrestrial planets astrobiology; prebiotic organic reactions in water; homochirality; magnetic field; racemic hydrophobic amino acids; geomagnetic field; terrestrial planets
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zorzano, M.-P.; Osuna-Esteban, S.; Ruiz-Bermejo, M.; Menor-Salván, C.; Veintemillas-Verdaguer, S. Enantioselective Crystallization of Sodium Chlorate in the Presence of Racemic Hydrophobic Amino Acids and Static Magnetic Fields. Challenges 2014, 5, 175-192.

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