Skip to main content Accessibility help

Stability of α-ketoglutaric acid simulating an impact-generated hydrothermal system: implications for prebiotic chemistry studies

  • L. Ramírez-Vázquez (a1) (a2) and A. Negrón-Mendoza (a2)


Life originated on Earth possibly as a physicochemical process; thus, geological environments and their hypothetical characteristics on early Earth are essential for chemical evolution studies. Also, it is necessary to consider the energy sources that were available in the past and the components that could have contributed to promote chemical reactions. It has been proposed that the components could have been mineral surfaces. The aim of this work is to determine the possible role of mineral surfaces on chemical evolution, and to study of the stability of relevant molecules for metabolism, such as α-ketoglutaric acid (α-keto acid, Krebs cycle participant), using ionizing radiation and thermal energy as energy sources and mineral surfaces to promote chemical reactions. Preliminary results show α-ketoglutaric acid can be relatively stable at the simulated conditions of an impact-generated hydrothermal system; thus, those systems might have been plausible environments for chemical evolution on Earth.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: L. Ramírez-Vázquez, E-mail:


Hide All
Ames, DE, Jonasson, IR, Gibson, HL and Pope, KO (2006) Impact-generated hydrothermal system – constraints from the large paleoproterozoic sudbury crater, Canada. In: Cockell, C., Gilmour, I., Koeberl, C. (eds) Biological Processes Associated with Impact Events. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. pp. 55100.
Bernal, JD (1951) The physical basis of life. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, UK.
Cairns-Smith, AG (1966) The origin of life and the nature of the primitive gene. Journal of Theoretical Biology 10, 5388.
Calvin, M (1955) Chemical Evolution and the Origin of Life. U. S. Atomic Energy Commision, USA. Available at
Chatterjee, S (2016) A symbiotic view of the origin of life at hydrothermal impact crater-lakes. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 18, 2003320046.
Cleaves, JH II, Michalkova Scott, A, Hill, FC, Leszczynski, J, Sahai, N and Hazen, R (2012) Mineral–organic interfacial processes: potential roles in the origins of life. Chemical Society Reviews 41, 55025525.
Cockell, CS (2006) The origin and emergence of life under impact bombardment. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 361, 18451856.
Colín-García, M, Heredia, A, Cordero, G, Camprubí, A, Negrón-Mendoza, A, Ortega-Gutiérrez, F and Ramos-Bernal, S (2016) Hydrothermal vents and prebiotic chemistry: a review. Boletin de La Sociedad Geologica Mexicana 68, 599620.
Criquet, J and Karpel Vel Leitner, K (2011) Radiolysis of acetic acid aqueous solutions – effect of pH and persulfate addition. Chemical Engineering Journal 174, 504509.
Criquet, J and Karpel Vel Leitner, K (2012) Electron beam irradiation of citric acid aqueous solutions containing persulfate. Separation and Purification Technology 88, 168173.
Cruz-Castañeda, J, Colín-García, M and Negrón-Mendoza, A (2014) The possible role of hydrothermal vents in chemical evolution: succinic acid radiolysis and thermolysis. AIP Conference Proceedings 1607, 104.
Daubar, I and Kring, D (2001) Impact-induced hydrothermal systems: heat sources and lifetimes. Lpsc, pp. 2021. Available at
Draganić, IG (2005) Radiolysis of water: a look at its origin and occurrence in the nature. Radiation Physics and Chemistry 72, 181186.
Farmer, JD (2000) Hydrothermal systems: doorways to early biosphere evolution. GSA Today 10, 19.
Goldschmidt, V. M. (1952) Geochemical aspects of the origin of complex organic molecules on the earth, as precursors to organic life. New Biol 12, 97105.
Gomes, R, Levison, HF, Tsiganis, K and Morbidelli, A (2005) Origin of the cataclysmic Late Heavy Bombardment period of the terrestrial planets. Nature 435, 466469.
Hazen, RM (2005) Genesis: rocks, minerals, and the geochemical origin of life. Elements 1, 135137.
Hazen, RM (2012) Geochemical origins of life. In: Knoll, A. H., Canfield, D. E., Konhauser, K. O. (eds) Fundamentals of Geobiology. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, USA. pp 315332.
Hazen, RM and Sverjensky, DA (2010) Mineral surfaces, geochemical complexities, and the origins of life. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology 2, a002162a002162.
Iizuka, T, Horie, K, Komiya, T, Maruyama, S, Hirata, T, Hidaka, H and Windley, BF (2006) 4.2 Ga zircon xenocryst in an Acasta gneiss from northwestern Canada: evidence for early continental crust. Geology 34, 245248.
Karam, PA and Leslie, SA (1999) Calculations of background beta-gamma radiation dose through geologic time. Health Physics 77, 662667.
Koeberl, C (2013) The geochemistry and cosmochemistry of impacts. Treatise on Geochemistry: Second Edition 2, 73118.
Kring, DA (2002) Cataclysmic bombardment throughout the inner solar system 3.9–4.0 Ga. Journal of Geophysical Research, 107, 5009.
Martin, W, Baross, JKelley, D and Russell, MJ (2008) Hydrothermal vents and the origin of life. Nature Reviews Microbiology 6, 805814.
Montenegro, P, Valente, IM, Moreira Gonçalves, L, Rodrigues, JA and Araújo Barros, A (2011) Single determination of a-ketoglutaric acid and pyruvic acid in beer by HPLC whit UV detection. Analytical Methods 3, 12071212.
Naumov, MV (2002) Impact-generated hydrothermal systems: data from Popigai, Kara, and Puchezh-Katunki impact structures. In Plado, J and Pesonen, LJ (eds) Impacts in Precambrian Shields. Impact Studies. Berlin: Springer, pp. 117171.
Negrón-Mendoza, A (2004) The role of clays in the origin of life. In: Seckbach, J. (ed) Origins, Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology. Vol. 6, Springer, Dordrecht. pp 181194.
Negrón-Mendoza, A and Ponnamperuma, C (1976) Formation of biologically relevant carboxylic acids during the gamma irradiation of acetic acid. Origins of Life 7, 191196.
Negron-Mendoza, A and Ramos-Bernal, S (1998) Radiolysis of carboxylic acids adsorbed in clay minerals. Radiation Physics and Chemistry 52, 395399.
Negrón-Mendoza, A and Ramos-Bernal, S (2015) Gamma irradiation of citric and isocitric acid in aqueous solution: relevance in prebiotic chemistry. AIP Conference Proceedings 1671, 020012.
Negrón-Mendoza, A, Colín-García, M and Ramos-Bernal, S (2018) Radiolysis of succinic acid and its ammonium salt in aqueous solution, relevance in chemical evolution. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 318, 22792284.
Nelson, DL and Cox, MM (2012) Lehninger Biochemistry, 6th Edn.Macmillan Learning, USA.
Nisbet, EG and Sleep, NH (2001) The habitat and nature of early life. Nature 409, 10831091.
Osinski, GR (2005) Hydrothermal activity associated with the Ries impact event, Germany. Geofluids 5, 202220.
Osinski, GR, Lee, P, Parnell, J, Spray, JG and Baron, M (2005) A case study of impact-induced hydrothermal activity: the Haughton impact structure, Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 40, 18591877.
Pirajno, F (2009) Hydrothermal Processes and Mineral Systems. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
Zagórski, ZP and Kornacka, EM (2012) Ionizing radiation: friend or foe of the origins of life? Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres 42, 503505.


Stability of α-ketoglutaric acid simulating an impact-generated hydrothermal system: implications for prebiotic chemistry studies

  • L. Ramírez-Vázquez (a1) (a2) and A. Negrón-Mendoza (a2)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed