Ferric Citrate (IMAGE) Marine Biological Laboratory Caption Ferric citrate is a structure formed from the transition metal iron and citrate, a compound produced by plants, algae, and many bacteria. Morowitz and his colleagues propose that structures like this could have catalyzed the formation of molecular building blocks, leading ultimately to the formation of complex molecules essential for the origin of life. Credit Harold Morowitz, George Mason University Usage Restrictions None License Licensed content Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.