Living reference work entry
Hydantoin (C 3H 4N 2O 2) is an organic compound whose structure is shown in Fig. 1. It is a saturated heterocyclic molecule related to imidazole which contains two lactam, or cyclic amide, functions. From an astrobiological point of view, it could be important for two main reasons: (1) it is formed from condensation of urea and glycolic acid, or cyanate and glycine, likely common prebiotic molecules which have also been detected in two meteorites, including Murchison, and, more importantly, (2) it is a precursor in the formation of N-carbamoyl amino acid (NCA) or hydantoic acid, which may be an important intermediate in the formation of oligopeptides. More generally, hydantoins are cyclic molecules formed from N-carbamoyl-amino acids.
KeywordsOrganic Compound Bioorganic Chemistry Glycolic Acid Important Intermediate Cyclic Molecule
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