This work addresses the supramolecular self-organization in the xerogels of formose reaction products. The UV-induced formose reaction was held in over-saturated formaldehyde solutions at 70∘C without a catalyst. The solutions of the obtained carbohydrates were dried on a glass slide, and the obtained xerogels demonstrated a prominent optical activity, while the initial solutions were optically inactive. The xerogels contained highly elongated crystalline elements of a helical structure as well as the isometric ones. Thus xerogel formation was accompanied by a spontaneous resolution of enantiomers and separation of different-shaped supramolecular structures. The thick helices were twisted of thinner ones, while the latter were twisted of elementary structures having a diameter much smaller than 400 nm. Similar structural hierarchy is typical of biological macromolecules (DNA, proteins, and cellulose). Summarizing the obtained results, we proposed a hypothetical mechanism explaining the amplification of the initial enantiomeric excess, as well as chiral and chemical purification of the substances which were essential for the evolution of Life to start.
- Formose reaction
- PREBIOTIC CHEMISTRY