Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Stereoselective crystallization induced by traces of dissolved optically active impurities


Isothermal crystallization of D,L-sodium-ammonium tartrate with traces of different impurities admixed shows that the added chiral contaminations produce a preferential crystallization of the tartrate isomer of same handedness. The critical lowest concentration of effective seeding agents is 0.1-0.5 %. 1 % optically active excess material induces 1.0-3.6 % optical purity in the deposited crystals. An analysis of the relevant data reported so far gives similar figures in different crystallization systems. The relation of the results to the suggested lattice energy difference between enantiomers is discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bernal, J.D. (1967). The origin of life. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson

  2. Bonner, W.A. (1972). Origins of molecular chirality. In: Exobiology, C. Ponnamperuma, ed., pp. 120–234. Amsterdam-London: North-Holland

  3. Harada, K. (1970). Naturwissenschaften57, 114

  4. Harada, K. (1972a). Bull Chem. Soc. Japan.45, 2859

  5. Harada, K. (1972b) Chem. Letters. 1057

  6. Harrison, L.G. (1974). J. Mol. Evol.4, 99

  7. Kipping, F.S., Pope, W.J. (1898). J. Chem. Soc.73, 606

  8. Kovács, K.L., Garay, A.S. (1975). Nature254, 538

  9. Kovács, K.L. (1977). Proc. 2nd ISSOL Mecting, Kyoto, Japan

  10. McKenzie, A. (1915). J. Chem. Soc.107, 440

  11. Northrop, J.H. (1957). Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.43, 304

  12. Ostromisslenskii, I. (1908). Ber.41, 3035

  13. Pincock, R.E., Branshaw, R.P., Perkins, R.R. (1974). J. Mol. Evol.4, 67

  14. Secor, R.M. (1963). Chem. Rev.63, 297

  15. Thiemann, W. (1974a). Naturwissenschaften61, 476

  16. Theimann, W. (1974b). J. Mol. Evol.4, 85

  17. Thiemann, W., Darge, W. (1974). Origins of Life5, 263

  18. Thiemann, W., Wagener, K. (1970). Angew. Chem.82, 776

  19. Wald, G. (1957). Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci.69, 369

  20. Yamagata, Y. (1966). J. Theoret. Biol.11, 495

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kovács, K.L. Stereoselective crystallization induced by traces of dissolved optically active impurities. J Mol Evol 10, 161–166 (1977).

Download citation

Key words

  • Induced resolution
  • Chiral influence
  • Sodium-ammonium tartrate
  • Origin of optical activity
  • Stereoselective crystallization