Equipment for the coacervate lab
Solution with coacervates
Researchers, including Oparin and Haldane (1930’s), explored the possible patterns of formation of the very first pre-cellular entities from abiotic materials.
A whole series of such “protobionts” have been generated by various experiments designed, performed, repeated, modified and redone for the past 70 years.
Protobionts are types of pre-cellular structures that form abiotically from the interaction of various organic molecules. These protobiont structures all possess some biological properties.
Urey and Miller (1953) followed the work of previous researchers and described coacervates, which are examples of laboratory-generated droplets that self-assemble when various combinations of abiotically generated organic molecules such as nucleic acids, polypeptides, and polysaccharides are shaken together in an enclosed, energetic situation. If enzymes are added to the solution, the coacervates will incorporate them and are able to use them to perform reactions, make products, and release the products.
Gelatin (a protein) and gum arabic (a simple carbohydrate) can be used to create coacervate models in a simple laboratory experiment. This lab will explore conditions that govern the formation and disassembly of coacervates.