Sugar synthesis from a gas-phase formose reaction

Abraham F. Jalbout, Leif Abrell, Ludwik Adamowicz, Robin Polt, A. J. Apponi, L. M. Ziurys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Prebiotic possibilities for the synthesis of interstellar ribose through a protic variant of the formose reaction under gas-phase conditions were studied in the absence of any known catalyst. The ion-molecule reaction products, diose and triose, were sought by mass spectrometry, and relevant masses were observed. Ab initio calculations were used to evaluate protic formose mechanism possibilities. A bilateral theoretical and experimental effort yielded a physical model for glycoaldehyde generation whereby a hydronium cation can mediate formaldehyde dimerization followed by covalent bond formation leading to those and water. These results advance the possibility that ion-molecule reactions between formaldehyde (CH2O) and H3O+ lead to formose reaction products and inform us about potential sugar formation processes in interstellar space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-442
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Astrobiology
  • Interstellar medium, clouds
  • Interstellar medium, molecules
  • Laboratory methods
  • Molecular processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Sugar synthesis from a gas-phase formose reaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this