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Issue 3, 2011
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Chiral interactions of histidine in a hydrated vermiculite clay

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Recent work shows a correlation between chiral asymmetry in non-terrestrial amino acids extracted from the Murchison meteorite and the presence of hydrous mineral phases in the meteorite [D. P. Glavin and J. P. Dworkin, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 2009, 106, 5487–5492]. This highlights the need for sensitive experimental tests of the interactions of amino acids with clay minerals together with high level computational work. We present here the results of in situneutron scattering experiments designed to follow amino acid adsorption on an exchanged, 1-dimensionally ordered n-propyl ammonium vermiculite clay. The vermiculite gel has a (001) d-spacing of order 5 nm at the temperature and concentration of the experiments and the d-spacing responds sensitively to changes in concentration, temperature and electronic environment. The data show that isothermal addition of D-histidine or L-histidine solutions of the same concentration leads to an anti-osmotic swelling, and shifts in the d-spacing that are different for each enantiomer. This chiral specificity, measured in situ, in real time in the neutron beam, is of interest for the question of whether clays could have played an important role in the origin of biohomochirality.

Graphical abstract: Chiral interactions of histidine in a hydrated vermiculite clay

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Article information

01 Aug 2010
12 Oct 2010
First published
28 Oct 2010

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011,13, 825-830
Article type

Chiral interactions of histidine in a hydrated vermiculite clay

D. G. Fraser, H. C. Greenwell, N. T. Skipper, M. V. Smalley, M. A. Wilkinson, B. Demé and R. K. Heenan, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011, 13, 825
DOI: 10.1039/C0CP01387K

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