The coacervates

Actually we are still a long way away from what could be defined as a living organism also because nowadays it is surrounded by a wrap called “cellular membrane”, that separates it from the outer world.
Starting from these suppositions, Oparin assumed that in the hot primitive seas organic molecules would gather in small drops, similar to the actual cells. These small drops wrapped up in water molecules are called “coacervates” (from cum acervo = gather together) and were already known before Oparin’s research. It has been proved that by placing certain proteins which bind well with it in the water, with certain temperature and acidity conditions, numerous small drops will form holding within them most of the larger molecules bound together.
This can be explained by the existence of opposite sign electric charges on the proteins, which are then attracted to one another and gather polar molecules of water on the outer surface to form a membrane around the aggregation transforming it into a small drop.
In 1958 the biochemist Sidney Walter Fox , who discovered protein precursors (proteinoids), made some proteinoids melt in hot salty water. When the solution cooled down, he noticed that there were thousands of small corpuscles similar to bacteria, that he called “microspheres”. Through the microscope he saw that the small organic substance corpuscles had a double protection membrane. This membrane is not like a cellular membrane, but in certain conditions it acts as one. In fact, when placing them in solutions at higher or lower concentrations compared to their inner liquid, they shrink or swell exactly like living cells will do in the same situation. Furthermore, the microspheres are able to keep some molecules inside and let others out. These features make the microspheres look very much like living cells.

Special reports

  • 25 November 2014

    Years of plastics

    Waste, abandoned objects, disposed items, even though we try to ignore them, hide them and shift them, they pervade our…

    3 November 2014

    Conan the bacterium

    Have you ever leafed through the pages of a book of Guinness World Records? You can find records of all…

    7 October 2014

    What language does science speak? 2nd part

    There is an old proverb that says “the apple does not fall far from the tree ”. Apparently it seems…

  • 18 September 2014

    What language does science speak?

    Do you remember the game called “Chinese whispers”? All the participants had to stand in line and the game started…

    2 July 2014

    A hoax? No thank you, I prefer to find out myself!

    In Italian, bufala: a hoax, also means a female buffalo – and a type of mozzarella cheese is made with…

    31 August 2013

    The Red List of Italian animals

    Biodiversity in Italy Italy has a rich biodiversity due to its distinctive geographic, climatic and historical characteristics. In particular, there…

  • 4 April 2013

    Carbon (14C) dating method

    Radiocarbon dating In 1991, near the border between Austria and Italy, the body of the Similaun man, also known as…

    27 September 2012

    Over 7 billion people on Earth

    World population hits 7 billion Demographers have estimated that on 31 October 2011 world population reached the 7 billion mark,…

    11 June 2012

    Bats, facts and fiction

    Legend or fact? In ancient Rome, bats were nailed to the door of the house as a protection from witches…

  • 25 November 2014

    Years of plastics

    Waste, abandoned objects, disposed items, even though we try to ignore them, hide them and shift them, they pervade our…

    3 November 2014

    Conan the bacterium

    Have you ever leafed through the pages of a book of Guinness World Records? You can find records of all…

  • 7 October 2014

    What language does science speak? 2nd part

    There is an old proverb that says “the apple does not fall far from the tree ”. Apparently it seems…

    18 September 2014

    What language does science speak?

    Do you remember the game called “Chinese whispers”? All the participants had to stand in line and the game started…

  • 2 July 2014

    A hoax? No thank you, I prefer to find out myself!

    In Italian, bufala: a hoax, also means a female buffalo – and a type of mozzarella cheese is made with…

    31 August 2013

    The Red List of Italian animals

    Biodiversity in Italy Italy has a rich biodiversity due to its distinctive geographic, climatic and historical characteristics. In particular, there…

  • 25 November 2014

    Years of plastics

    Waste, abandoned objects, disposed items, even though we try to ignore them, hide them and shift them, they pervade our…

  • 3 November 2014

    Conan the bacterium

    Have you ever leafed through the pages of a book of Guinness World Records? You can find records of all…

  • 7 October 2014

    What language does science speak? 2nd part

    There is an old proverb that says “the apple does not fall far from the tree ”. Apparently it seems…

From the Multimedia section

  • 09_wolf_thu

    ecosystems

    Wolf

    Look
    07_reproduction_ferns_thu

    life

    Reproduction of ferns

    Look
    06_doveani2_eng_thu

    life

    Where there are animals 2

    Look
  • 05_doveanimals1_eng_thu

    life

    Where there are animals 1

    Look
    08_mammals_endang_thu

    life

    Mammals endangered 1

    Look
    08_industrial_application_thu

    life

    Industrial application

    Look
  • 03_usi_diatome_eng_thu

    life

    Diatoms use

    Look
    orchidee_italiane_thu

    life

    Italian orchids

    Look
    algae Haematococcus pluvialis

    life

    Haematococcus pluvialis

    Look
  • 09_wolf_thu

    ecosystems

    Wolf

    Look
    07_reproduction_ferns_thu

    life

    Reproduction of ferns

    Look
  • 06_doveani2_eng_thu

    life

    Where there are animals 2

    Look
    05_doveanimals1_eng_thu

    life

    Where there are animals 1

    Look
  • 08_mammals_endang_thu

    life

    Mammals endangered 1

    Look
    08_industrial_application_thu

    life

    Industrial application

    Look
  • 09_wolf_thu

    ecosystems

    Wolf

    Look
  • 07_reproduction_ferns_thu

    life

    Reproduction of ferns

    Look
  • 06_doveani2_eng_thu

    life

    Where there are animals 2

    Look

Facts

  • The whale shark

    The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the biggest fish in the world, in fact it can reach a length of…

    The African elephant

    The African elephant is the largest land animal living on our Planet. The male African elephant can reach a length…

    Animal records

    Long jump Snow leopard : 13 metres Springbok: 10 metres Kangaroo: 9 metres Flea: 35 cm, in other words, 220…

  • The biggest animal

    The biggest living animal is the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). It can reach a length of 33 metres and weigh…

    Another camouflage …

    In the gardens it is quite common to find the larvae of the Chrysomelidae family beetle, called lily beetle (Crioceris…

    The biggest tree

    The tallest tree in the world is called Hyperion . It is a Sequoia sempervirens and is 115.55 metres tall,…

  • CO2 “eating” trees

    If a tree “eats” CO2 and produces oxygen it is easy to understand the importance it has in reducing the…

    Green for hope

    Trees carry out an important hydrogeological function: the leaves protect the soil from erosion caused by rain and the roots…

    The tree and the truffle

    Truffles are hypogean (underground) fungi  which grow in the presence of particular trees such as oaks, holm oaks and willows,…

  • 3 April 2012

    The whale shark

    The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the biggest fish in the world, in fact it can reach a length of…

    The African elephant

    The African elephant is the largest land animal living on our Planet. The male African elephant can reach a length…

  • Animal records

    Long jump Snow leopard : 13 metres Springbok: 10 metres Kangaroo: 9 metres Flea: 35 cm, in other words, 220…

    The biggest animal

    The biggest living animal is the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). It can reach a length of 33 metres and weigh…

  • Another camouflage …

    In the gardens it is quite common to find the larvae of the Chrysomelidae family beetle, called lily beetle (Crioceris…

    The biggest tree

    The tallest tree in the world is called Hyperion . It is a Sequoia sempervirens and is 115.55 metres tall,…

  • The whale shark

    The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the biggest fish in the world, in fact it can reach a length of…

  • The African elephant

    The African elephant is the largest land animal living on our Planet. The male African elephant can reach a length…

  • Animal records

    Long jump Snow leopard : 13 metres Springbok: 10 metres Kangaroo: 9 metres Flea: 35 cm, in other words, 220…