Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Water electric as proto cell?

Ulla Matfolk sent to me some interesting material at the web page of Dr. Mae-Wan Ho. The first article is Water electric. The second one is Making Fuel from Water. Both articles relate closely to what might be called the holy grail of artificial photosynthesis. The unreasonable effectiveness of photosynthesis in the sense that the waste of energy during the process is extremely small, makes artificial photosynthesis an excellent candidate for the final solution of energy problems as far energy sources and minimization of wastes are considered. In the following I comment only the first paper in detail from TGD viewpoint.

How photosynthesis manages to be so effective is one of the mysteries of biology. TGD based view about metabolic energy involves two ideas.

  1. TGD predicts a hierarchy of metabolic energy quanta(see this and this) The basic quanta come as E(k)= 2kE0, where k is positive or negative integer and E0≈.5 eV holds true. For instance, 2 eV metabolic energy quantum corresponding to red light corresponds to k=3. This is actually oversimplification since there is a cascade of quanta E(k,n)= (1-2-n)E(k) converging to E(k) for each p-adic length scale. These energies correspond to energies liberated when electron or proton drops to a larger space-time sheet at the limit when second space-time becomes very large and the particle starts from rest and remains to rest: this is second idealization. The idea is that these universal metabolic energy quanta preceded the metabolism based on chemical storage of energy and that the primary step in photosynthesis is kicking of proton or electron to a smaller space-time sheet.

  2. Second idea relies on the hierarchy of Planck constants.
    1. The rate of dissipation - that this the energy wasted per unit time - is inversely proportional to hbar in the first naive guess and means that macroscopically quantum coherent dark matter dissipates very little. Could photon kick charged dark particles to smaller space-time sheet where they dissipate very little? Or could photosynthesis capture ordinary or dark photons of sunlight to some layer of the onion like structure formed by the magnetic body of the organism, where it kicks particles to smaller space-time sheets. This light could correspond to biophotons liberated as the biological body of the organism dies.
    2. Could this storage of photons have preceded chemical storage of energy in living matter? And could this energy reserve explain some rather mysterious findings about the ability of some people to survive without ordinary metabolic energy feed (usually saints and this kind of people telling that light is enough for them to survive;-). Also animals are capable to these metabolic miracles: see the article Researchers Seek to Demystify the Metabolic Magic of Sled Dogs. Of course, the storage of energy to that of dark matter or dark photons confined to the net defined by magnetic flux tubes could be the eventual manner to avoid energy waste and associated entropy growth inducing environmental problems. Hierarchy of Planck constants would allow the storage in arbitrary long length scales for given energy of photon so that even a community of organisms could have collective metabolic energy resources: maybe synergy has something to do with this;-).

The first article gives quantitative support for this picture.

Exclusion zones

The article summarizes the sequence of events initiated by the discovery of Gerald Pollack and his student Zheng Jian-ming. As a matter fact, the fascinating findings described in detail by Gerald Pollack in (the introduction of - I could not of course afford any book as a scientific dissident in Finland!) his book were absolutely crucial for the recent TGD based view about quantum biology in which dark matter plays key role.

  1. Pollack and his student discovered that suspensions of colloids and dissolved substances are excluded from a region extending some hundreds of micrometres from the surfaces of hydrophilic gels. An ‘exclusion zone’ (EZ) of this magnitude conflicts the belief that interfacial water forming at liquid-solid, or liquid-air interfaces can be no more than a few layers of molecules thick. What’s observed is a million layers or more!

    Comment: The sizes of cells vary up to hundreds of micrometers and cells are by definition structures which are isolated from the environment. Maybe EZs represent protocells or their predecessors. That the surface was that of gel might be important. In TGD based model of living matter gels have magnetic bodies and their presence might relate to the formation of the thick water layer in non-standard phase.

  2. Similar exclusion zones were found next to any hydrophilic surface including surfaces coated with a monolayer of hydrophilic molecules, and around ion exchange resin beads. Electric charge appears to be important, as EZ failed to form around charge-exhausted resin beads. Although EZ can form in pure water, it is enhanced and stabilized by low concentrations of buffer (2 to 10 mM at pH 7).

    Comment: Hydrophily could quite generally correspond to the formation of magnetic flux tubes connecting the hydrophilic surface to water molecules as assumed in TGD inspired model of protein folding and bio-catalysis.

  3. The EZ phase is very different from the bulk water. An unusually ordered crystalline phase where the molecules are less free to move is suggestive. The UV and visible absorption spectrum gave a single absorption peak at ≈ 270 nm in the UV region completely absent in the bulk phase. The infrared emission record showed that the EZ radiates very little compared with bulk water, as would be expected on account of the reduced mobility of water molecules. The magnetic resonance imaging mapping similarly gave a transverse relaxation time (T2) of 25.4 + 1 ms, which is shorter than the 27.1 + 0.4 ms recorded for the bulk water phase, again indicative of restricted motion.

    Comment: The reduced radiation might mean that part of photons are dark and bound inside magnetic flux tubes defining a structure responsible for the formation of gel like phases inside cell and perhaps also inside EZ. The interpretation as biophotons is suggestive. This phase of water could be predecessor of the water in cell interior since in the crystalline phase long bio polymers like DNA and aminoacid sequences would be stable against hydration.

  4. EZ had a different electrical potential from the bulk phase, by as much as 100 – 200 mV, depending on the hydrophilic surface. With a negatively charged surface such as polyacrylic acid or Nafion (widely used as a proton exchange membrane), the potential is negative compared with the bulk water away from the EZ. Simultaneously, the hydrogen ion (proton, H+) concentration is high just outside the EZ, decreasing in a gradient away from it. This indicates that the formation of the EZ is accompanied by a separation of positive and negative electrical charges, which led to the build up of electrical potential between the EZ and the bulk water. In effect, the water has become an electrical battery, and can provide electricity through an external circuit.

    Comment: Cell membrane is also a battery and the potential is around 50-80 mV to be compared with 100 – 200 mV, and the size scale of cell varies from 5 micrometer to hundreds of micrometers so that EZs could be involved with the formation of cell and cell membranes. The kicking of electrons or protons to smaller space-time sheet could be the mechanism inducing electric potential at a given space-time sheet. The formation of battery would mean that water could some day used to store very effectively the energy of solar radiation.

A connection with photosynthesis

Separating H+ from e- (electron) is the first step of photosynthesis in green plants which provides energy for most of the biosphere. In this case the energy comes from solar radiation. The separation of charges requires energy also in the case of EZ and the question is where this energy comes from in the case of EZ.

  1. A clue came after having inadvertently left the experimental chamber with the EZ on the microscope overnight. Next morning, the EZ had shrunk considerably. But after turning on the microscope lamp, it began to immediately grow again, restoring itself within minutes to its former size. The energy for EZ formation comes from light, as in photosynthesis, but it can use the low energy part of the solar spectrum that photosynthesis cannot.

    Comment: Could one consider the possibility that photosynthesis involves unknown step and this step is just the kicking of electrons or protons to a smaller space-time sheet. This step would also induce the separation of charges and the generation of electric potential.

  2. Although the entire spectrum of visible light appeared effective in making the EZ grow, the most effective part is in the infrared region, peaking at ≈ 3 100 nm. A 10 minute exposure at that wavelength expanded the width of an EZ 3.7 times, and after an hour of exposure, the expansion was more than 6 times. After the light was turned off, the EZ remained constant for about 30 minutes before beginning to shrink, reaching halfway to its baseline level in about 15 minutes.

    Comment: 3100 nm corresponds to .4 eV. The nominal value of the fundamental metabolic energy quantum is around E0=.5 eV and one has E(k=0,n=3)= 0.4375 eV for this value of E0. Perhaps the photons indeed kick electrons or protons to a smaller space-time sheet.

    1. In the case of protons the smaller space-time sheet would correspond to atomic space-time sheets characterized by p≈2137: the larger one would correspond to to k=141.

    2. For electrons the size of the smaller space-time sheet would be by a factor mp/me= 940/.5=1880≈ 211 larger and would correspond to k= 137+11=148. This is one half of the thickness of the lipid layer of cell membrane. The larger space-time sheet would correspond to cell membrane thickness L(151)=10 nm and perhaps the dark space-time sheet serving as a template for the formation of the cell membrane! If .4 eV corresponds to electron, then proton would correspond to .44 eV giving for the metabolic energy quantum the value E0(p)= 0.5029 eV in the case of proton and E0(e)= 0.4616 eV in the case of electron.

  3. When the UV and visible range was tested, a peak in the degree of EZ expansion was detected at 270 nm in the UV region, corresponding to the characteristic absorption peak of EZ that was identified before. However, as the optical power used in the UV and visible region was 600 times that in the IR, the most profound effect was identified in the IR region, particularly at 3 100 nm.

    Comment: 270 nm corresponds to the energy 4.5926 eV. E=4 eV is the nearest metabolic energy quantum. This energy does not correspond directly to any metabolic energy quantum assignable to .4 eV or .43 eV. One must be however cautious with conclusions since the model is very rough.

  4. The mechanism of EZ formation is still unknown. But the two wavelengths that expand the EZ most effectively may offer some hint. The UV 270 nm is close to the 250 nm (≈5 eV) required to ionize water under standard state conditions and taking into account the hydration of the resulting ions. The 3 100 nm peak, on the other hand is close to the OH stretch of the ring hexamer identified as the most abundant species in infrared predissociation spectroscopy of large water clusters, and also in neon matrices by infrared spectroscopy. These results suggest that photoexcitation of ring hexamers and photoionisation followed by ejection of protons play synergistic roles in the assembly of the EZ phase. Pollack and colleagues believe that the infrared radiation, though normally insufficient to break OH bonds, can nevertheless work via resonance induced dissociation of large hydrogen-bonded networks.

    Comment: Ring hexamers bring in mind the crucial role of aromatic cycles in TGD inspired model of DNA as topological quantum computer which leads also to a model of ADP→ ATP transition involving reconnection of magnetic flux tubes and having also information theoretic interpretation as a change of the topology of the braid structure defining topological quantum computer program (see this). Magnetic flux tubes carrying dark electrons begin from these and can end up to other biomolecules or water. Just a guess: could they end on ring hexamers?


The findings suggest additional details to the TGD based view about living matter.

  1. The kicking of electrons or protons or both of them to a larger space-time sheet would be the first step in photosynthesis as indeed suggested for years ago. The energy of 3100 nm photons indeed corresponds to that for the fundamental metabolic energy quantum.

  2. The findings suggest also a mechanism for how solar radiation generates proto cells or their predecessors. The resulting phases of water have size extending to those for largest cells and the water could involve a gel like phase in which magnetic flux tubes containing dark matter could play a key role and eventually lead to quantum computer like behavior (see this). The kicking of electrons (or protons) to smaller space-time sheet would induce ionization at given space-time sheet so that electric potential difference would result. The magnitude of the potential difference is of a correct order of magnitude. Cell membrane scale is present as a p-adic length scale for the space-time sheet of electrons before the kicking to the smaller space-time sheet and these space-time sheets could act as templates for the formation of cell membrane.

  3. Interestingly, TGD based model of high Tc super conductivity predicts that both cell membrane length scale and size scale of cell are involved with the super-conductivity (see this). Cell membrane acts as a Josephson junction in TGD based model of cell membrane, nerve pulse, and EEG (see this).

For more detailed representation and for references see the chapter Quantum Model for Nerve Pulse of "TGD and EEG".


At 12:34 PM, Blogger Bonnie & Clyde said...

Mielenkiintoinen juttu. Oliko mitään tietoa prosessin hyötysuhteesta?


At 8:59 PM, Blogger Matti Pitkanen said...

Hyvä Bonnie ja Clyde,

törmäsin dissipaation pienuuteen aikanaan fotosynteesin yhteydessä mutta en loydä tahan hätään mitään lukua.

Jatkakaahan matkaa rauhanomaisissa merkeissä;-).

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Ulla said...

Water is not necessarily bond by strong hydrogenbondings between O-H, but can also have much weaker bondings as follows from
and the hexagonal form in
And in connection to the nerve pulse: "and in neutron diffraction of effectively-powdered hexagonal ice. It has also been shown to grow with increasing temperature and pressure. Four water molecules are generally found roughly tetrahedrally placed in supercooled water at distances about 2.78 Å."
Also with gap junctions and acuaporines are the same form found.

Are there interstitial water molecules?

The term 'interstitial' can have several meanings. Historically it meant unbonded or weakly hydrogen-bonded water molecules sitting in the empty spaces in a tetrahedrally bonded network, such as within the hexameric boxes in ice Ih structures (this is the meaning that is generally used in this site). More recently the term has been used to describe water molecule in the 3.7 Å peak of the oxygen radial distribution function. They may be in this position because they are not hydrogen bonded, because they are tetrahedrally hydrogen bonded but in a separate local cluster or because they are hydrogen bonded within the same local cluster but where there is considerable bond bending involved. These definitions are not necessarily mutually exclusive. It is not the case that interstitial molecules must have no hydrogen bonds; it being quite possible that such a molecule can have a number of normal or somewhat distorted hydrogen bonds. The idea of interstitial molecules has recently been re-introduced using the evidence of some simulation studies and the neutron diffraction finding of interstitial water in effectively-powdered hexagonal ice. When liquid water is put under pressure, there appears to be an increase in interpenetration of hydrogen bonded networks at about 200 MPa (at 290 K) as evidenced from the increase in O····O nearest molecule separation distances, and O-H stretch vibration frequency, with pressure between about 200 to 400 MPa. Both isoelectronic neon and the larger argon atoms can be found in interstitial sites in hexagonal ice, proving they have sufficient size to contain water molecules. Ice-seven and ice-eight both consist of interpenetrating networks where all water molecules effectively occupy interstitial sites.

At 6:10 AM, Blogger Tapio said...

Hello Matti

Please get in touch asap :)

Best regards

At 12:42 AM, Blogger Saoirse said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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