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Sugars as the Optimal Biosynthetic Carbon Substrate of Aqueous Life throughout the UniverseOur previous analysis of the energetics of metabolism showed that both the biosynthesis of amino acids and lipids from sugars, and the fermentation of organic substrates, were energetically driven by electron transfer reactions resulting in carbon redox disproportionation (Weber 1997). Redox disproportionation -- the spontaneous (energetically favorable) direction of carbon group transformation in biosynthesis -- is brought about and driven by the energetically downhill transfer of electron pairs from more oxidized carbon groups (with lower half-cell reduction potentials) to more reduced carbon groups (with higher half-cell reduction potentials). In this report, we compare the redox and kinetic properties of carbon groups in order to evaluate the relative biosynthetic capability of organic substrates, and to identify the optimal biosubstrate. This analysis revealed that sugars (monocarbonyl alditols) are the optimal biosynthetic substrate because they contain the maximum number of biosynthetically useful .high energy electrons/carbon atom , while still containing a single carbonyl group needed to kinetically facilitate their conversion to useful biosynthetic intermediates. This conclusion applies to aqueous life throughout the Universe because it is based on invariant aqueous carbon chemistry -- primarily, the universal reduction potentials of carbon groups.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Weber, Arthur L.
(Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Inst. Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
June 15, 1999
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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