It is proposed that the earliest cellular organisms relied upon a novel type of energy transduction termed palirrhotrophy, which generates a high-energy ‘currency’ chemiosmotically by exploiting the rhythmic variations in salinity which occur in the estuarine environment. Calculations based on estimates of contemporary chemiosmotic transduction efficiency suggest that such a mechanism could produce usable energy in high yield. The minimum polypeptide requirement for palirrhotrophy compares favorably with that of a fermentative pathway. It is suggested that palirrhotrophic organisms exist today but are difficult to detect.
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Yčas, J.W. The palirrhotrophic origin of energy metabolism. Origins Life Evol Biosphere 7, 235–238 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00926941
- Organic Chemistry
- Energy Metabolism
- Usable Energy