Formaldehyde: Poison or Origin of Life?

  • Author: ChemistryViews
  • Published: 05 April 2011
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci./National Academy of Sciences
thumbnail image: Formaldehyde: Poison or Origin of Life?

Numerous competing ideas exist to explain the origin and mode of synthesis of the complex organic solids found in interplanetary dust, comets and asteroids. George Cody and colleagues, Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA, have used a range of spectroscopic techniques to identify the components in insoluble organic matter (IOM) isolated from meterorites in an attempt to discover how it was formed.


They synthesized a polymer from formaldehyde and showed that it was similar to the IOM in meterorites. Their formaldehyde polymer also showed similarities to organic material found in a comet named 81P/Wild 2, pieces of which were collected by NASA's Stardust mission.

These results mean that IOM and cometary organic solids are related chemically and were probably derived from formaldehyde.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Article Views: 2886

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, please contact us first for permission and consult our permission guidance prior to making your request

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on YouTube Follow on LinkedIn Follow on Instagram RSS Sign up for newsletters

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH