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Strange brew brings inorganic chemicals to life.



Rather than springing forth from a conglomeration con·glom·er·a·tion  
n.
1.
a. The act or process of conglomerating.

b. The state of being conglomerated.

2. An accumulation of miscellaneous things.
 of carbon-based, or organic, chemical compounds, life may have been born of inorganic compounds Tentative listing related to this page, inorganic compounds by element (presently under construction), as well as .

This list is not necessarily complete or up to date – if you see an article that should be here but isn't (or one that shouldn't be here but is), please update
 more akin to table salt and washing soda, according to a team of chemists that recently created cell-like structures from a mixture of inorganic chemicals.

Chemist Jerzy Maselko of the University of Alaska in Anchorage and his colleague Peter Strizhak of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Kiev devised the concoction. The researchers dropped a pellet of calcium chloride calcium chloride, CaCl2, chemical compound that is crystalline, lumpy, or flaky, is usually white, and is very soluble in water. The anhydrous compound is hygroscopic; it rapidly absorbs water and is used to dry gases by passing them through it.  doped with copper chloride into a solution of sodium carbonate. The solution also contained some hydrogen peroxide hydrogen peroxide, chemical compound, H2O2, a colorless, syrupy liquid that is a strong oxidizing agent and, in water solution, a weak acid. It is miscible with cold water and is soluble in alcohol and ether. , and a bit of sodium iodide. Minutes after the chemicals were mixed, a marble-size blob formed spontaneously. Tests discerned that the blob had a semipermeable membrane semipermeable membrane Nephrology A dialysis membrane with a pore size that permits passage of solvent and some solute molecules. See Cell membrane.  across which diffused chemicals that reacted inside the cell.

The products of those reactions then diffused out of the cell. Moreover, mimicking division of living cells, daughter cells budded off from the original inorganic cells.

Maselko and Strizhak describe their inorganic creations in the April 22 Journal of Physical Chemistry, B.
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Title Annotation:Chemistry
Author:Goho, Alexandra
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 29, 2004
Words:176
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