We have investigated the adsorption of adenine, adenosine, ribose, and adenosine-5′-phosphate (5′-AMP) by allophane at pH 4, 6 and 8. Adenine, adenosine and ribose gave similar isotherms, i.e. adsorption increased regularly with solution concentration and decreased in the order: pH 8 > pH 6 > pH 4. Allophane had a greater affinity for 5′-AMP than for adenine, adenosine or ribose. Further, the extent of adsorption for 5′-AMP increased in the order: pH 8 << pH 6 ≈pH 4. The adsorption of 5′-AMP at pH 4 and pH 6 was about 60 times greater than at pH 8. The strong adsorption of 5′-AMP accords with the well known high phosphate-retention capacity of allophane and allophane-rich soils. The experimental data may be rationalized in terms of the pH-dependent charge characteristics of the organic solutes and allophane. The large propensity of allophane to retain 5′-AMP is ascribed to ligand exchange between the phosphate of 5′-AMP and the hydroxyl of (HO)Al(OH2) groups, exposed at perforations on the wall of allophane spherules, giving rise to a surface (chelation) complex. The high affinity of nucleotides for allophane has implications for the possible role of allophane in the abiotic formation of RNA-type polynucleotides although nucleotide ‘immobilization’ by surface complexation might hinder RNA oligomerization.

You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.