Abbott-Lyon Laboratory

 

Phosphorus is a key element in many biological molecules including nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA, energy storage molecules like ATP, membrane phospholipids and coenzymes. The Abbott-Lyon laboratory is investigating the reaction pathways by which phosphorus contained in the mineral schreibersite (Fe2NiP) can be activated to form C-O-P and C-P linkages. A custom apparatus is being used to identify reaction sites on the surface, discover key reactive intermediates, detect reaction products and determine branching ratios. These results should improve our understanding of phosphorylation reactions occurring on the surface of minerals that may have played an important role in prebiotic chemistry.