CRC 235 Emergence of Life

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The Abiotic Formation of Pyrrole under Volcanic, Hydrothermal Conditions—An Initial Step towards Life’s First Breath?

C. Seitz 2021 Life


Christian Seitz, Wolfgang Eisenreich, and Claudia Huber



Porphyrins, corrins, and tetrapyrroles constitute macrocycles in essential biomolecules such as heme, chlorophyll, cobalamin, and cofactor F430. The chemical synthesis as well as the enzymatic synthesis of these macrocycles starts from pyrrole derivatives. We here show that pyrrole and dimethyl pyrrole can be formed under the simulated volcanic, hydrothermal conditions of Early Earth, starting from acetylene, propyne, and ammonium salts in the presence of NiS or CoS as catalysts.