Organic Aerosols and the Origin of Life: An Hypothesis

  • D. J. Donaldson
  • H. Tervahattu
  • A. F. Tuck
  • V. Vaida


Recent experimental work has verified the prediction that marine aerosols could have an exterior film of amphiphiles; palmitic, stearic and oleic acids were predominant. Thermodynamic analysis has revealed that such aerosols are energetically capable of asymmetric division. In a prebiotic terrestrial environment, one of the products of such aerosol fission would have been bacterially sized (microns), the other would have been virally sized (tens of nanometers). Plausible avenues for chemical differentiation between the two particles are discussed, and the probabilities for the transition from geochemistry to biochemistry updated in light of recent palaeo fossil studies.

marine aerosols fission bacteria virus 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. Donaldson
    • 1
  • H. Tervahattu
    • 2
  • A. F. Tuck
    • 3
  • V. Vaida
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of TorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Limnology and Environmental ProtectionUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Meteorological Chemistry ProgramNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Aeronomy LaboratoryBoulderU.S.A.; (* author for correspondence, e-mail
  4. 4.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryUniversity of ColoradoBoulderU.S.A

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