Preprint Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Chemical Diversity of Metal Sulfide Minerals and Its Implications for Prebiotic Catalysis

Version 1 : Received: 11 September 2018 / Approved: 11 September 2018 / Online: 11 September 2018 (08:39:51 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Li, Y.; Kitadai, N.; Nakamura, R. Chemical Diversity of Metal Sulfide Minerals and Its Implications for the Origin of Life. Life 2018, 8, 46. Li, Y.; Kitadai, N.; Nakamura, R. Chemical Diversity of Metal Sulfide Minerals and Its Implications for the Origin of Life. Life 2018, 8, 46.

Journal reference: Life 2018, 8, 46
DOI: 10.3390/life8040046

Abstract

Prebiotic organic synthesis reactions catalyzed by Earth-abundant metal sulfides are key processes for understanding the evolution of biochemistry from inorganic molecules, yet the catalytic functions of sulfides have remained poorly explored in the context of the origins of life. Past studies on prebiotic chemistry have mostly focused on a few types of metal sulfide catalysts, such as FeS or NiS, which form limited types of products with inferior activity and selectivity. To explore the potential of metal sulfides on catalyzing prebiotic chemical reactions, here, the chemical diversity (variations in chemical composition and phase structure) of 304 natural metal sulfide minerals in a mineralogy database was surveyed and approaches to rationally predict the catalytic functions of metal sulfides are discussed based on advanced theories and analytical tools of electrocatalysis such as proton-coupled electron transfer, structural comparisons between enzymes and minerals, and in-situ spectroscopy. To this end, we introduce a model of geo-electrochemistry driven prebiotic synthesis for chemical evolution, as it helps us to predict kinetics and selectivity of targeted prebiotic chemistry under “chemically messy conditions”. We expect that combining the data-mining of mineral databases with experimental methods and theories developed in the field of electrocatalysis will facilitate the prediction and verification of catalytic performance under a wide range of pH and Eh conditions, and aid in the rational screening of mineral catalysts involved in the origins of life.

Subject Areas

origins of life; prebiotic chemistry; mineral catalysis; sulfide minerals; mineral diversity; density functional theory; electrocatalysis

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