Primordial soup was edible: abiotically produced Miller-Urey mixture supports bacterial growth
Xueshu Xie, Daniel Backman, Albert T. Lebedev, Viatcheslav B. Artaev, Liying Jiang, Leopold L. Ilag & Roman A. Zubarev
Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 14338 (2015)
Sixty years after the seminal Miller-Urey experiment that abiotically produced a mixture of racemized amino acids, we provide a definite proof that this primordial soup, when properly cooked, was edible for primitive organisms. Direct admixture of even small amounts of Miller-Urey mixture strongly inhibits E. coli bacteria growth due to the toxicity of abundant components, such as cyanides. However, these toxic compounds are both volatile and extremely reactive, while bacteria are highly capable of adaptation. Consequently, after bacterial adaptation to a mixture of the two most abundant abiotic amino acids, glycine and racemized alanine, dried and reconstituted MU soup was found to support bacterial growth and even accelerate it compared to a simple mixture of the two amino acids. Therefore, primordial Miller-Urey soup was perfectly suitable as a growth media for early life forms.
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