posted on May, 26 2013 @ 01:06 PM
"The mystery of how living organisms sprung out of lifeless rock has long puzzled scientists, but we think that the unusual phosphorus chemicals
we found could be a precursor to the batteries that now power all life on Earth. But the fact that it developed simply, in conditions similar to the
early Earth, suggests this could be the missing link between geology and biology," said Dr Terry Kee, from the University's School of Chemistry, who
led the research.
All life on Earth is powered by a process called chemiosmosis, where the chemical adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the rechargeable chemical
'battery' for life, is both broken down and re-formed during respiration to release energy used to drive the reactions of life, or metabolism. The
complex enzymes required for both the creation and break down of ATP are unlikely to have existed on Earth during the period when life first
developed. This led scientists to look for a more basic chemical with similar properties to ATP, but that does not require enzymes to transfer
Not Phosphorus V the common form found in many places today but a mineral phosphorus called schreibersite..
It has been assumed that early Earth
was regularly bombarded by meteorites and interstellar dust rich in exotic minerals, including the far more reactive form of phosphorus, the
iron-nickel-phosphorus mineral schreibersite
Still not a cell but the precursor to powering the cell...no way to extract power no life process begins
The scientists simulated the impact of such a meteorite with the hot, volcanically-active, early Earth by placing samples of the Sikhote-Alin
meteorite, an iron meteorite which fell in Siberia in 1947, in acid taken from the Hveradalur geothermal area in Iceland. The rock was left to react
with the acidic fluid in test tubes incubated by the surrounding hot spring for four days, followed by a further 30 days at room temperature.
"Chemical life would have been the intermediary step between inorganic rock and the very first living biological cell. You could think of
chemical life as a machine -a robot, for example, is capable of moving and reacting to surroundings, but it is not alive. With the aid of these
primitive batteries, chemicals became organised in such a way as to be capable of more complex behaviour and would have eventually developed into the
living biological structures we see today," said Dr Terry Kee
The team at Leeds are now working with colleagues at JPL-Caltech to understand how these early batteries and the 'chemical life' they became part of
might have developed into biological life. As part of this work they will be using facilities in the University of Leeds' Faculty of Engineering,
currently used to test new fuel cells, to build a 'geological fuel cell' using minerals and gases common on the early Earth. Researchers will apply
different chemicals to its surface and monitor the reactions take place and the chemical products which develop.END QUOTE:
Eubacteria and Archaebacteria are considered some of, if not the oldest forms of life on earth ever found. Simple life forms indeed but all life needs
a power source and these studies and experiments are answering some of the basic questions of how, what, and when. I really do like the diversity of
the above posted web sight in that some of the latest stuff in science is reported/discussed without much hype and on a level most can understand.
For those who are interested thanks for reading