Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • Louis d’Hendecourt
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_747-3



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.


Organic Compound Bioorganic Chemistry Glycolic Acid Important Intermediate Cyclic Molecule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut d’Astrophysique SpatialeUniversité Paris-Sud 11OrsayFrance