Formation of highly enantioenriched microenvironments by stochastic sorting of conglomerate crystals: A plausible mechanism for generation of enantioenrichment on the prebiotic earth



Abiotic generation of local areas of enantioenrichment is to be expected whenever one deals with the 5–10% of organic solids that crystallize as conglomerates. Since an individual crystal of a conglomerate contains only a single enantiomer, simple sorting processes involving winds, waves, or similar forces can act to deposit individual crystals into unique environments. Subsequent dissolution may afford nearly enantiopure solutions. Therefore, in contrast to common perception, enantioenrichment is not a unique signature of living systems, it is simply evidence of a certain degree of chemical complexity. Chirality 13:425–427, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.