The formose reaction, discovered by Butlerow in 1861, is a complex autocatalytic set of condensation reactions of formaldehyde to yield sugars and other small sugar-like molecules. The reaction is particularly noteworthy in the context of astrobiology and prebiotic chemistry in that it could serve as a potential abiotic source of carbohydrates, in particular ribose, which could be important for the origin of an RNA World.
The formose reaction is an autocatalytic reaction discovered by Butlerow (1861). It involves the formation of sugars, polyols and hydroxy acids from formaldehyde in a series of carbon-to-carbon condensations, as opposed to carbon-to-oxygen condensations of HCHO to form polyoxymethylene. Formose is a contraction of formaldehyde and the suffix -ose, denoting a sugar. In fact, many biological sugars have empirical formulas of the form (CH2O)n, for example, glucose, (CH2O)6, and ribose, (CH2O)5. The formose reaction may be a...
KeywordsAutocatalysis Carbohydrate Formaldehyde Formose Ribose RNA World
References and Further Reading
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- Butlerow A (1861) Formation synthétique d’une substance sucrée. Comp Rend Acad Sci 53:145–147Google Scholar
- Chandra K, De S (1983) Adsorption of formaldehyde by clay minerals in presence of urea and ammonium sulfate in aqueous system. Indian J Agr Chem 16:239–245Google Scholar
- De Bruijn J, Kieboom A, Van Bekkum H (1986) Reactions of monosaccharides in aqueous alkaline solutions. Sugar Tech Rev 13:21–52Google Scholar
- Gesteland R, Atkins J (1983) The RNA world: the nature of modern RNA suggests a prebiotic RNA world (Monograph/Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, No 24)Google Scholar
- Gesteland RF, Atkins JF (1993) The RNA world: the nature of modern RNA suggests a prebiotic RNA world. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring HarborGoogle Scholar
- Malinowski S, Basinski S, Szczepanska (1963) Ann Soc Chim Polonorum 37:977–982Google Scholar
- Walker J (1964) Formaldehyde, 3rd edn. Rheinhold, New YorkGoogle Scholar