Marta Ruiz-Bermejo

Marta Ruiz-Bermejo
Centro de Astrobiología | CAB · Department of Molecular Evolution

PhD

About

83
Publications
23,146
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1,308
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2008 - December 2012
January 2007 - December 2010
Spanish National Research Council
April 2004 - present
Centro de Astrobiología
Position
  • Researcher

Publications

Publications (83)
Article
Full-text available
Herein, the potential of alkaline hydrothermal environments for the synthesis of possible ancestral pre-RNA nucleobases using cyanide as a primary source of carbon and nitrogen is described. Water cyanide polymerizations were assisted by microwave radiation to obtain high temperature and a relatively high pressure (MWR, 180 °C, 15 bar) and were als...
Article
Full-text available
The polymers based on diaminomaleonitrile (DAMN polymers) are a special group within an extensive set of complex substances, namely HCN polymers (DAMN is the formal tetramer of the HCN), which currently present a growing interest in materials science. Recently, the thermal polymerizability of DAMN has been reported, both in an aqueous medium and in...
Article
Full-text available
A systematic study is presented to explore the NH4CN polymerization induced by microwave (MW) radiation, keeping in mind the recent growing interest in these polymers in material science. Thus, a first approach through two series, varying the reaction times and the temperatures between 130 and 205 °C, was conducted. As a relevant outcome, using par...
Article
HCN-derived polymers have recently attracted considerable attention due to their promising applications as multifunctional materials. This study, inspired by plausible early Earth geochemical conditions, describes a strategy to synthesize them from the self-initiated thermal bulk polymerization of the HCN tetramer, diaminomaleonitrile (DAMN), with...
Article
Full-text available
Hydrogen cyanide, HCN, is considered a fundamental molecule in chemical evolution. The named HCN polymers have been suggested as precursors of important bioorganics. Some novel researches have focused on the role of mineral surfaces in the hydrolysis and/or polymerization of cyanide species, but until now, their role has been unclear. Understanding...
Article
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Traditionally, the effect of mineral surfaces on increasing molecular complexity has been considered a major issue in studies about the origin of life. In contrast, herein, the effects of organic films derived from cyanide over an important prebiotic mineral, pyrite, are considered. An XPS spectroscopy study was carried out to understand the surfac...
Article
Full-text available
HCN-derived polymers are a heterogeneous group of complex substances synthesized from pure HCN; from its salts; from its oligomers, specifically its trimer and tetramer, aminomalononitrile (AMN) and diaminomaleonitrile (DAMN), respectively; or from its hydrolysis products, such as formamide, under a wide range of experimental conditions. The charac...
Article
The solid-state polymerization (SSP) of organic molecules to form two-dimensional (2D) materials remains a challenge, especially when these reactions are performed in one pot using a single reagent. As will be shown, the SSP of the HCN tetramer diaminomaleonitrile (DAMN) may be an excellent example of these reactions. Dynamic experiments by differe...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, the first study on NH4CN polymerization induced by microwave radiation is described, where a singular kinetic behaviour, especially when this reaction is conducted in the absence of air, is found. As a result, a complex conjugated N-heterocyclic polymer system is obtained, whose properties are very different, and even improved accord...
Research Proposal
Invitation to special issue "Advances in HCN-Derived Polymers" in Processes ( an Open Access Journal by MDPI, IF 2.753)
Article
HCN polymers are of great interest in research on the origin of life and, currently, in materials science because they have shown potential for the design of electrical devices, (photo)catalysts and biomedicine. Herein, calorimetric measurements have successfully described the bulk polymerization of HCN tetramer, diaminomaleonitrile (DAMN). Two ser...
Article
Full-text available
The face of LUCA (last unknown common ancestor) is unknown. The nature of this hypothetical primitive organism is actually a mystery. However, LUCA must had been drawn using a large number of colors in the painting about the origin of life. Herein, we will focus in one color: the blue. The blue color of a dye called as Prussian Blue. One will be re...
Article
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Icy moons in our solar system are targets of interest to search for signs of life and habitability beyond Earth. They are the astrobiological aim for several developing space missions (JUICE, Europa Clipper, and Europa Lander). A further understanding of the processes that force a planetary object to develop a biological system and to develop habit...
Article
Full-text available
Hydrogen cyanide (HCN)-derived polymers have been recognized as sources of relevant organic molecules in prebiotic chemistry and material sciences. However, there are considerable gaps in the knowledge regarding the polymeric nature, the physicochemical properties, and the chemical pathways along polymer synthesis. HCN might have played an importan...
Article
Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is considered a fundamental molecule in prebiotic chemistry experiments due to the fact that it could have an important role as raw material to form more complex molecules, as well as it could be an intermediate molecule in chemical reactions. However, the primitive scenarios in which this molecule might be available have bee...
Article
Herein, a kinetic analysis for aqueous NH4CN polymerizations is presented, which is consistent with an autocatalytic model when polymerizations are performed at relatively high temperatures, 80-90 °C. Further experiments at lower polymerization temperatures, approximately 50 °C, have demonstrated that this relevant prebiotic reaction follows nth-or...
Article
HCN polymers are a group of complex and heterogeneous substances that, being widely known in astrobiology, they have recently received considerable attention as a new generation of high‐performance coatings and adhesives with biomedical applications. In this study, we explore different synthesis conditions for the production of HCN polymers from NH...
Article
Full-text available
HCN polymers are a group of complex and heterogeneous substances that are widely known in the fields of astrobiology and prebiotic chemistry. In addition, they have recently received considerable attention as potential functional material coatings. However, the real nature and pathways of formation of HCN polymers remain open questions. It is well...
Article
Full-text available
The Atacama Desert, the oldest and driest desert on Earth, displays significant rains only once per decade. To investigate how microbial communities take advantage of these sporadic wet events, we carried out a geomicrobiological study a few days after a heavy rain event in 2015. Different physicochemical and microbial community analyses were condu...
Article
Full-text available
The conditions for the potential abiotic formation of organic compounds from inorganic precursors have great implications for our understanding of the origin of life on Earth and for its possible detection in other environments of the Solar System. It is known that aerosol-interfaces are effective at enhancing prebiotic chemical reactions, but the...
Article
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The ability to establish biofilms is a key trait for microorganisms growing in extreme environments. The extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) present in biofilms provide not only surface attachment, but also protection against all kinds of environmental stressors, including desiccation, salinity, temperature or heavy metal pollution. The acquis...
Article
Full-text available
The kinetics of the reaction of the synthesis of HCN polymers in aqueous medium at high temperatures have been analysed to ascertain a suitable model for this material, for which it was recently demonstrated that the prebiotic chemistry may now be adapted in the development of a new generation of high performance coatings and adhesives with biomedi...
Article
Full-text available
Potential martian molecular targets include those supplied by meteoritic carbonaceous chondrites such as amino acids and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and true biomarkers stemming from any hypothetical martian biota (organic architectures that can be directly related to once living organisms). Heat extraction and pyrolysis-based methods currentl...
Article
Full-text available
The search for biomarkers of present or past life is one of the major challenges for in situ planetary exploration. Multiple constraints limit the performance and sensitivity of remote in situ instrumentation. In addition, the structure, chemical, and mineralogical composition of the sample may complicate the analysis and interpretation of the resu...
Article
HCN polymerization is one of the most important and fascinating reactions in prebiotic chemistry, and interest in HCN polymers in the field of materials science is growing. However, little is known about the kinetics of the HCN polymerization process. In the present study, a first approach to the kinetics of two sets of aqueous HCN polymerizations,...
Article
The influence of the reaction conditions in the synthesis of HCN polymers in water at low temperature has been analyzed. The thermal stability of the HCN polymers obtained from aqueous solutions and under inert atmosphere was evaluated by thermogravimetry and differential scanning calorimetry (TG-DSC) techniques. In addition, in situ mass spectrome...
Article
Full-text available
Elucidating the origin of life involves synthetic as well as analytical challenges. Herein, for the first time, we describe the use of gel electrophoresis and ultrafiltration to fractionate HCN polymers. Since the first prebiotic synthesis of adenine by Oró, HCN polymers have gained much interest in studies on the origins of life due to the identif...
Article
The origin of life is one of the fundamental questions in science. Eschenmoser proposed the "glyoxylate scenario", in which plausible abiotic synthesis pathways were suggested to be compatible with the constraints of prebiotic chemistry. In this proposal, the stem compound is HCN. In this work, we explore the "glyoxylate scenario" through several s...
Article
Full-text available
One of the major components of the organic solvent extractable fraction of Cretaceous ambers is 1,6-dimethyl-5-isopentyltetralin, a compound that has been incorrectly or not identified in previous reports on the molecular composition of Cretaceous ambers. Here, the purification and structural identification of 1,6-dimethyl-5-isopentyltetralin is re...
Article
The genesis of life on Earth is a hypothesis of evolutionary science that can be, at least partially, tested experimentally. The prebiotic synthesis of cofactors or coenzymes is a poorly explored issue, likely because their formation under plausible prebiotic conditions is not clear. In this sense, it has been proposed that the cofactors are "molec...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The complex organic substances named as " HNC polymers " are well known as important prebiotic precursors of purines, pyrimidines, amino acids, aldehydes, ketones, pteridines, urea, urea-related compounds and some carboxylic acids. Moreover, aqueous aerosols have been shown to be effective as prebiotic microreactors to the production of hydroxy com...
Article
Full-text available
We study the bias induced by a weak (200 mT) external magnetic field on the preferred handedness of sodium chlorate crystals obtained by slow evaporation at ambient conditions of its saturated saline solution with 20 ppm of added racemic (dl) hydrophobic amino acids. By applying the Fisher test to pairs of experiments with opposing magnetic field o...
Article
Three samples of Titan's tholins synthesized in laboratory under simulated Titan's conditions and presenting different degrees of exposure to ambient atmosphere have been used to study in detail their thermal behavior using thermogravimetry coupled with a mass spectrometer (TG-MS), differential thermal analysis (DTA) and differential scanning calor...
Article
Full-text available
Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is a ubiquitous molecule in the Universe. It is a compound that is easily produced in significant yields in prebiotic simulation experiments using a reducing atmosphere. HCN can spontaneously polymerise under a wide set of experimental conditions. It has even been proposed that HCN polymers could be present in objects such as...
Article
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We investigated the synthesis of α-amino acids under possible prebiotic terrestrial conditions in the presence of dissolved iron (II) in a simulated prebiotic ocean. An aerosol-liquid cycle with a prebiotic atmosphere is shown to produce amino acids via Strecker synthesis with relatively high yields. However, in the presence of iron, the HCN was ca...
Article
[1] Similarities between the Atacama Desert (Chile) and Mars include extreme aridity, highly oxidizing chemistry, and intense ultraviolet radiation that promoted the photochemical production of perchlorates and nitrates. Concentration of these ions under hyperarid conditions led to the formation of nitrate- and perchlorate-bearing deposits in ephem...
Article
Full-text available
This study presents the thermogravimetry (TG) of hydrophobic tholins, obtained from different simulation experiments of prebiotic synthesis carried out in a CH4/N2/H2 atmosphere with spark discharge activation of aqueous aerosols and liquid water. Differential thermal analysis and differential scanning calorimetry were also used to evaluate the the...
Article
Full-text available
The restrictions imposed by instrumentation and some methodological constraints make that only volatile organic compounds have been analyzed in situ by instruments in planetary exploration. The oxidation of the meteoritic organic matter on Mars might be in the form of non-volatile polycarboxylic acids. These compounds are difficult to detect by in...
Article
Full-text available
We present results of laboratory experiments carried out to examine the impact-induced chemistry on Titan and to study the reactivity and a possible fate of tholins on Titan's surface. We have used a highenergy pulsed laser to recreate the energetic processes during meteoritic impacts shocks. The experiments have consisted in ablating pure water ic...
Article
The primary geochemical process at methane seeps is anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM), performed by methanotrophic archaea and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). The molecular fingerprints (biomarkers) of these chemosynthetic microorganisms can be preserved in carbonates formed through AOM. However, thermal maturity and aerobic degradation can cha...
Article
The data presented here provide a novel contribution to the understanding of the structural features of HCN polymers and could be useful in further development of models for prebiotic chemistry. The interpretation of spectroscopic and analytical data, along with previous results reported by other authors, allowed us to propose a mechanism for the a...
Article
Full-text available
The Atacama Desert has long been considered a good Mars analogue for testing instrumentation for planetary exploration, but very few data (if any) have been reported about the geomicrobiology of its salt-rich subsurface. We performed a Mars analogue drilling campaign next to the Salar Grande (Atacama, Chile) in July 2009, and several cores and powd...
Article
Full-text available
We present results of laboratory experiments carried out to examine the impact-induced chemistry on Titan and to study the reactivity and a possible fate of tholins on Titan surface. We have used a high-energy pulsed laser to recreate the energetic processes during meteoritic impacts shocks. The experiments have consisted in ablating pure water ice...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a thermogravimetry (TG) study of hydrogen cyanide polymers, synthesized from the reaction of equimolar aqueous solutions of sodium cyanide and ammonium chloride. Differential thermal analysis (DTA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) were also used to evaluate the thermal behaviour of these black polymers, which play an...
Article
We have studied the in situ coordination reaction of porphyrin molecules, particularly protoporphyrin IX (H2PPIX), with copper substrate atoms in ultrahigh vacuum conditions with a combination of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy. We show that these protoporphyrin IX molecules deposited on Cu surfaces, as Cu(110) an...
Article
Full-text available
The particular mineralogy formed in the acidic conditions of the Río Tinto has proven to be a first-order analogue for the acid-sulfate aqueous environments of Mars. Therefore, studies about the formation and preservation of biosignatures in the Río Tinto will provide insights into equivalent processes on Mars. We characterized the biomolecular pat...
Article
Full-text available
Clasically, prebiotic chemistry has focused on the production and identification of simple organic molecules, many of them forming part of "intractable polymers" named tholins. In a previous work, we demonstrated that in experiments using an external energy source and inorganic carbon the aqueous aerosols improved the formation of hydrophilic tholi...
Article
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It is described the molecular preservation in the acidic sediments of Río Tinto exposed to an early diagenesis mediated by meteoric solutions and dehydration. Same post-sedimentary processes may have occurred in the acidic sulfates of Mars.
Article
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We investigate in laboratory on the fate of tholins once condensed into Titan's icy surface and bombarded by meteoritic impacts and on the occurring organic chemistry. A pulsed laser has been used to ablate pure water ice with Titan tholins at 77 K.
Chapter
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Prebiotic chemistry studies the possible origins of the building blocks of living organisms, as well as their chirality. The hypothesis commonly accepted to explain the origin of life is that simple inorganic molecules, for instance, CH4, CO2, N2, NH3, reacted together in order to form simple organic compounds that then underwent subsequent reactio...
Article
Two different simulation experiments of prebiotic synthesis were carried out in a CH4/N2/H2 atmosphere with spark discharge activation of aqueous aerosols and liquid water. In both cases, a hydrophilic tholin and a hydrophobic tholin were obtained. The methodology developed by our group for the characterisation of hydrophilic tholins [Ruiz-Bermejo,...
Article
Full-text available
Poster presented at: Bioastronomy 2007: Molecules, Microbes and Extraterrestrial Life (July 16-20, 2007, San Juan de Puerto Rico). Ferrocyanide has been proposed as a potential prebiotic reagent by Arrhenius. The complex salt named Prussian Blue, Fe4[Fe(CN)6]3, [ferric hexacyaneferrate (II)], might be an important reservoir of hydrogen cyanide, HCN...
Article
The complex salt named Prussian Blue, Fe4[Fe(CN)6]3 x 15 H2O, can release cyanide at pH > 10. From the point of view of the origin of life, this fact is of interest, since the oligomers of HCN, formed in the presence of ammonium or amines, leads to a variety of biomolecules. In this work, for the first time, the thermal wet decomposition of Prussia...