Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 245–251 | Cite as

Melanoidin and aldocyanoin microspheres: Implications for chemical evolution and early precambrian micropaleontology

  • D. H. Kenyon
  • A. Nissenbaum


Two new classes of organic microspheres are described. One of them (melanoidin) is synthesized from amino acids and sugars in heated aqueous solutions. The other (aldocyanoin) is formed in aqueous solutions of ammonium cyanide and formaldehyde at room temperature.

The general properties of these microspheres, including conditions of synthesis, size and shape, mechanical and pH stability, and solubility, are compared with corresponding properties of other −protocell− model systems. It is concluded that melanoidin and aldocyanoin microspheres are plausible candidates for precellular units in the primitive hydrosphere.

Since the bulk of the organic carbon in early Precambrian sediments is insoluble kerogen-melanoidin, it is suggested that some Precambrian −microfossils− may be abiotic melanoidin microspheres of the type described herein.

Key words

Abiotic Synthesis Aqueous Systems Organic Microspheres Aldocyanoin Melanoidin Precambrian Sediments Microfossils 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. H. Kenyon
    • 1
  • A. Nissenbaum
    • 1
  1. 1.Chemical Evolution Branch, Ames Research CenterNational Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett FieldUSA

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