Chirality of meteoritic free and IOM-derived monocarboxylic acids and implications for prebiotic organic synthesis

José C. Aponte*, Rafael Tarozo, Marcelo R. Alexandre, Conel M O D Alexander, Steven B. Charnley, Christian Hallmann, Roger E. Summons, Yongsong Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The origin of homochirality and its role in the development of life on Earth are among the most intriguing questions in science. It has been suggested that carbonaceous chondrites seeded primitive Earth with the initial organic compounds necessary for the origin of life. One of the strongest pieces of evidence supporting this theory is that certain amino acids in carbonaceous chondrites display a significant l-enantiomeric excess (ee), similar to those use by terrestrial life. Analyses of ee in meteoritic molecules other than amino acids would shed more light on the origins of homochirality. In this study we investigated the stereochemistry of two groups of compounds: (1) free monocarboxylic acids (MCAs) from CM2 meteorites LON 94101 and Murchison; and (2) the aliphatic side chains present in the insoluble organic matter (IOM) and extracted in the form of monocarboxylic acids (MCAs) from EET 87770 (CR2) and Orgueil (CI1). Contrary to the well-known ee observed for amino acids in meteorites, we found that meteoritic branched free and IOM-derived MCAs with 5-8 carbon atoms are essentially racemic. The racemic nature of these compounds is used to discuss the possible influence of ultraviolet circularly polarized light (UVCPL) and aqueous alterations on the parent body on chirality observed in in carbonaceous chondrites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Volume131
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

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    Aponte, J. C., Tarozo, R., Alexandre, M. R., Alexander, C. M. O. D., Charnley, S. B., Hallmann, C., ... Huang, Y. (2014). Chirality of meteoritic free and IOM-derived monocarboxylic acids and implications for prebiotic organic synthesis. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 131, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2014.01.035