Origins of life and evolution of the biosphere

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 15–25

Potentially prebiotic syntheses of condensed phosphates

  • Anthony D. Keefe
  • Stanley L. Miller

DOI: 10.1007/BF01808157

Cite this article as:
Keefe, A.D. & Miller, S.L. Origins Life Evol Biosphere (1996) 26: 15. doi:10.1007/BF01808157


In view of the importance of a prebiotic source of high energy phosphates, we have investigated a number of potentially prebiotic processes to produce condensed phosphates from orthophosphate and cyclic trimetaphosphate from tripolyphosphate. The reagents investigated include polymerizing nitriles, acid anhydrides, lactones, hexamethylene tetramine and carbon suboxide. A number of these processes give substantial yields of pyrophosphate from orthophosphate and trimetaphosphate from tripolyphosphate. Although these reactions may have been applicable in local areas, they are not sufficiently robust to have been of importance in the prebiotic open ocean.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony D. Keefe
    • 1
  • Stanley L. Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA
  2. 2.NASA AMES Research CenterMoffett Field