: "The rates of thermal transformation of organic molecules containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen were systematically examined in order to identify the kinetic constraints that governed origin-of-life organic chemistry under mild aqueous conditions. Arrhenius plots of the kinetic data were used to estimate the reaction of half-lifes at 50 degrees C. This survey showed that hydrocarbons and organic substances containing a single oxygenated group were kinetically the most stable; whereas organic substances containing two oxygenated groups in which one group was an alpha- or beta-positioned carbonyl group were the most reactive. Compounds with an alpha- or beta-positioned carbonyl group (aldehyde or ketone) had rates of reaction that were up to 10(24)-times faster than rates of similar molecules lacking the carbonyl group. This survey of organic reactivity, together with estimates of the molecular containment properties of lipid vesicles and liquid spherules, indicates that an origins process in a small domain that used C,H,O-intermediates had to be catalytic and use the most reactive organic molecules to prevent escape of its reaction intermediates."
Weber AL. Orig Life Evol Biosph. 2004 Oct;34(5):473-95. Kinetics of organic transformations under mild aqueous conditions: implications for the origin of life and its metabolism. Orig Life Evol Biosph. 2004 Oct;34(5):473-95.