1998 Volume 14 Issue 3 Pages 507-514
We have found that eutectic compounds of sodium chloride and water form complexes with oxygen, hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide in the aqueous 0.1 M NaCl solution. The oxygen complex differentiates between the enantiomeric isomers of amino acids and sugars. The direction of this differentiation agrees with that of biological systems in nature where only the L-isomers of amino acids are used to form proteins, while D-form sugars form polysaccharides. These results represent the first complete differentiation of enantiomeric isomers in an inorganic system, and were achieved without the aid of any in vivo biomaterials, such as enzymes. Other alkali chlorides were also examined. The eutectic compound of potassium chloride and water forms a similar oxygen complex which also differentiates the isomers of amino acids and sugars. However, the direction of this differentiation is opposite that in the case of sodium chloride. These results call for the special attention to the fact that the concentration of potassium ions in living cells is higher than that of sodium ions. The mechanism of these observations is not yet clear, but is likely to involve the structure of an aqueous solution of a specific concentration (0.1 M) of salt. The effects of various gases were also examined. Like oxygen, hydrogen sulfide also forms a complex with the eutectic compound of sodium chloride and water. This complex differentiates the isomers of amino acids and sugars in a similar manner to the way the oxygen complex dose. This finding suggests that the enantiomeric isomers of amino acids and sugars could be differentiated in an inorganic environment. Carbon dioxide also forms a complex with the eutectic compound of sodium chloride and water, but does not differentiate the isomers.