Amino Acids and the Asymmetry of Life: Caught in the Act of by Uwe Meierhenrich

By Uwe Meierhenrich

This attractive research seeks to provide an explanation for why left-handed amino acids violated parity within the emergence of lifestyles in the world. for this reason, it bargains the entire types proposed through physicists, chemists and biologists in addition to the clinical conflicts.

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Extra resources for Amino Acids and the Asymmetry of Life: Caught in the Act of Formation (Advances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics)

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This principle is very important. Never forget that if the starting materials of a reaction are achiral and the products are chiral, they will be formed as a racemic mixture of enantiomers. Amino acids produced by the Strecker synthesis must be racemic, because the starting compounds (aldehyde, ammonia, and KCN) are achiral. However, if we isolate alanine from a natural protein-rich source by hydrolysis, we find solely one enantiomer (Fig. 1 structure on the right). Samples of chiral compounds that contain only one enantiomer are called enantiomerically pure.

4 Optical Rotation Dispersion and Cotton Effect 29 Often, the optical rotation changes only slightly by changing the wavelength, and ORD curves show no extrema (minimum or maximum) in the observed wavelength range in the visible spectrum. In this case, curves are called plain curves or normal dispersion curves. One distinguishes between positive and negative ORD plain curves. Positive ORD curves are obtained for positive values of the optical rotation. They are characterized by an increasing optical rotation towards short wavelengths in the ultraviolet range of the spectrum and show a negative slope.

But all α-alanine is chiral. Even racemic α-alanine that is produced by the Strecker-mechanism is chiral. Students have to be aware of the fact that – on the other hand – processes as such are never chiral. Terms as chiral synthesis, chiral catalysis, chiral recognition, chiral chromatography, or the recent book titles “Chiral Separations” (Humana Press), and “Chiral Photochemistry” (Marcel Dekker) should be avoided. Chromatography on a chiral stationary phase should better be called “enantioselective”.

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