A synthesis of fatty acids under prebiotic conditions using a fischer-tropsch-type synthesis



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Compounds synthesized by a Fischer-Tropsch-type process are paraffins, olefins, aromatic hydrocarbons, amino acids, purines, and pyrimidines. No satisfactory synthesis of fatty acids is available in the context of cosmochemistry or the origin of life. The preparation of fatty acids by this process uses oxidize.d-reduced Canyon Diablo meteorite and potassium carbonate as catalysts. A mixture of D[lowered 2]/CO, mole ratio 1/2:1, 1:1, or 2:1, was allowed to react with the catalysts, in a closed reaction vessel for 48 hours at 375°C. Hydrocarbons and normal fatty acids were produced. The highest yield (mole ratio 1:1) was about 385 ppm; with range of C[lowered 6] - C[lowered 15] and maximum of C[lowered 9]. Other catalysts produced hydrocarbons but no fatty acids. Comparison of these results with the organic acids found in carbonaceous chondrite may provide an indication of the role of this process in the synthesis of these compounds in the solar nebula.