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Journal Articles Small Methods Year : 2023

Double Emulsion Droplets as a Plausible Step to Fatty Acid Protocells

Jean‐paul Douliez


Abstract It is assumed that life originated on the Earth from vesicles made of fatty acids. These amphiphiles are the simplest chemicals, which can be present in the prebiotic soup, capable of self‐assembling into compartments mimicking modern cells. Production of fatty acid vesicles is widely studied, as their growing and division. However, how prebiotic chemicals require to further yield living cells encapsulated within protocells remains unclear. Here, one suggests a scenario based on recent studies, which shows that phospholipid vesicles can form from double emulsions affording facile encapsulation of cargos. In these works, water‐in‐oil‐in‐water droplets are produced by microfluidics, having dispersed lipids in the oil. Dewetting of the oil droplet leaves the internal aqueous droplet covered by a lipid bilayer, entrapping cargos. In this review, formation of fatty acid protocells is briefly reviewed, together with the procedure for preparing double emulsions and vesicles from double emulsion and finally, it is proposed that double emulsion droplets formed in the deep ocean where undersea volcano expulsed materials, with fatty acids (under their carboxylic form) and alkanols as the oily phase, entrapping hydrosoluble prebiotic chemicals in a double emulsion droplet core. Once formed, double emulsion droplets can move up to the surface, where an increase of pH, variation of pressure and/or temperature may have allowed dewetting of the oily droplet, leaving a fatty acid vesicular protocell with encapsulated prebiotic materials.
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Dates and versions

hal-04183143 , version 1 (18-08-2023)



Jean‐paul Douliez. Double Emulsion Droplets as a Plausible Step to Fatty Acid Protocells. Small Methods, 2023, Advance online publication, ⟨10.1002/smtd.202300530⟩. ⟨hal-04183143⟩


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