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Robertson, KJ, Williams PM, Bada JL.  1987.  Acid-Hydrolysis of Dissolved Combined Amino-Acids in Seawater - a Precautionary Note. Limnology and Oceanography. 32:996-997.Website
Wang, XS, Poinar HN, Poinar GO, Bada JL.  1995.  Amino acids in the amber matrix and in entombed insects. Amber, Resinite, and Fossil Resins. 617( Anderson KB, Crelling JC, Eds.).:255-262., Washington: Amer Chemical Soc Abstract

We have investigated the amino acids in both the bulk matrix and in insect inclusions in tree resins ranging in age from <100 years to 130 million years. The amino acid content of the resin matrix averages about 5 ppm and does not systematically vary with the age of the resin. The amino acids in the matrix are likely derived from either plant cells, or microorganisms, encapsulated when the resin solidified. The amino acid content of the insect tissues entombed in amber is less than that in modern insect specimens; this loss may be the result of oxidation reactions. The amino acid compositions of a fly and bee entombed in 30-40 million year old amber are somewhat different from the amino acid profiles of modern insects; this finding suggests that the preserved amino acid pattern under anhydrous conditions may not be the same as in aqueous environments. The amino acid racemization rate in amber insect inclusions is retarded by a factor of >10(4) compared to other geochemical environments on the surface of the Earth. This is also apparently due to the anhydrous properties of the amber matrix. The excellent preservation of amino acids in amber insect inclusions suggests that other biomolecules would also be preserved much better than in other geochemical environments. This conclusion is consistent with the reported successful retrieval of DNA sequences from amber-entombed organisms.

Becker, L, Bada JL, Winans RE, Bunch TE.  1994.  Fullerenes in Allende Meteorite. Nature. 372:507-507.   10.1038/372507a0   Website
Becker, L, Bada JL, Winans RE, Hunt JE, Bunch TE, French BM.  1994.  Fullerenes in the 1.85-Billion-Year-Old Sudbury Impact Structure. Science. 265:642-645.   10.1126/science.11536660   AbstractWebsite

Fullerenes (C-60 and C-70) have been identified by laser desorption, laser desorption postionization, and high-resolution electron-impact mass spectrometry in shock-produced breccias (Onaping Formation) of the Sudbury impact structure in Ontario, Canada, The C-60 isotope is present at a level of a few parts per million. The fullerenes were likely synthesized within the impact plume from the carbon contained in the bolide. The oxidation of the fullerenes during the 1.85 billion years of exposure was apparently prevented by the presence of sulfur in the form of sulfide-silicate complexes associated with the fullerenes.

Wing, MR, Bada JL.  1991.  Geochromatography on the Parent Body of the Carbonaceous Chondrite Ivuna. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta. 55:2937-2942.   10.1016/0016-7037(91)90458-h   AbstractWebsite

Ivuna, a CI carbonaceous chondrite, has been found to contain abundant amounts of the three-ring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) phenanthrene/anthracene, but no detectable levels of the two- and four-ring PAHs naphthalene and pyrene/fluoranthene. Either the three-ring PAHs in Ivuna were synthesized in a process that did not produce the two- or four-ring PAHs, or all these compounds were synthesized together and subsequently separated. Thermodynamical considerations and studies of hydrocarbon pyrolysis and combustion do not support the former possibility. Ivuna and other CI carbonaceous chondrites are known to have been extensively altered by water. The aqueous solubilities suggest that some PAHs would have been mobilized during the aqueous alteration phase in carbonaceous meteorite parent bodies. In a model geochromatography experiment, naphthalene, phenanthrene, and pyrene were partially resolved at a low pressure and flow rate utilizing columns containing crushed serpentine or beach sand, and water for elution. This laboratory geochromatography experiment suggests that complete separation of PAHs could be expected to occur in the parent body of CI carbonaceous chondrites. Such processes on Earth are known to lead to the formation of hydrothermal PAH minerals such as pendletonite. It is proposed that aqueous fluids driven by heat in the parent body of Ivuna migrated from the interior to the surface, in the process transporting, separating, and concentrating PAHs at various zones in the parent body.

Skelley, AM, Aubrey AD, Willis PA, Amashukeli X, Ehrenfreund P, Bada JL, Grunthaner FJ, Mathies RA.  2007.  Organic amine biomarker detection in the Yungay region of the Atacama Desert with the Urey instrument. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences. 112   10.1029/2006jg000329   AbstractWebsite

The Urey in situ organic compound analysis instrument, consisting of a subcritical water extractor ( SCWE) and a portable microchip capillary electrophoresis instrument called the Mars Organic Analyzer ( MOA), was field tested in the Atacama Desert, Chile, in June 2005. Soil samples from the most arid Yungay region were collected, biomarkers were extracted by the SCWE, and organic amine composition and amino acid chirality analysis was performed by the MOA. Samples collected from the top 1 cm of duracrust soil but shielded from the ambient environment by rocks were compared to the exposed duracrust. The shielded duracrust yielded amines and amino acids ranging from 50 to 100 ppb, while amino acid signals from the exposed duracrust were below blank levels. Samples from buried gypsum deposits located directly above a water flow channel contained amino acids ranging from 13 to 90 ppb. Chiral analysis revealed D/L ratios of 0.39 +/- 0.08 and 0.34 +/- 0.07 for alanine/serine and 0.78 +/- 0.06 for aspartic acid, indicating significant racemization of biologically produced amino acids. On the basis of the D/L ratios, we estimate sample ages ranging from 10(3) to 10(5) years. These results demonstrate the successful field testing of the Urey instrument, as well as the detection of biomarkers from past terrestrial life in one of the most arid and Mars-like regions on Earth.

Zenobi, R, Philippoz JM, Zare RN, Wing MR, Bada JL, Marti K.  1992.  Organic-Compounds in the Forest Vale, H4 Ordinary Chondrite. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta. 56:2899-2905.   10.1016/0016-7037(92)90366-q   AbstractWebsite

We have analyzed the H4 ordinary chondrite Forest Vale for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) using two-step laser mass spectrometry (L2MS) and for amino acids using a standard chromatographic method. Indigenous PAHs were identified in the matrices of freshly cleaved interior faces but could not be detected in pulverized silicates and chondrules. No depth dependence of the PAHs was found in a chipped interior piece. Amino acids, taken from the entire sample, consisted of protein amino acids that were nonracemic, indicating that they are terrestrial contaminants. The presence of indigenous PAHs and absence of indigenous amino acids provides support for the contention that different processes and environments contributed to the synthesis of the organic matter in the solar system.

Wing, MR, Bada JL.  1992.  The Origin of the Polycyclic Aromatic-Hydrocarbons in Meteorites. Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere. 21:375-383. AbstractWebsite

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Cl and C2 Carbonaceous Chondrites appear to be the product of a high-temperature synthesis. This observation counters a prevailing view that PAHs in meteorites are a thermal alternation product of preexisting aliphatic compounds, which in turn required the presence of low-temperature mineral phases such as magnetite and hydrated phyllosilicates for their formation. Such a process would necessarily lead to a more low-temperature assemblage of PAHs, as many low-temperature minerals and compounds are extant in meteorites. Ivuna, a C1 carbonaceous chondrite, has been shown to contain abundant amounts of the three-ring PAHs phenanthrene/anthracene, but no detectable levels of the two- and four-ring PAHs naphthalene and pyrene/fluoranthene. Ivuna and other C1 carbonaceous chondrites are known to have been extensively altered by water. The aqueous solubilities of PAHs indicate that some PAHs would have been mobilized during the aqueous alteration phase in meteorite parent bodies. Model geochromatography experiments using crushed serpentine or beach sand as the solid phase and water for elution suggest that the complete separation of two, three, and four-ring PAHs could be expected to occur in the parent body of C1 carbonaceous chondrites. It is proposed that aqueous fluids driven by heat in the parent body of Ivuna migrated from the interior to the surface, in the process transporting, separating and concentrating PAHs at various zones in the parent body. The presence of indigenous PAHs and absence of indigenous amino acids in the H4 ordinary chondrite Forest Vale provides support for the contention that different processes and environments contributed to the synthesis of the organic matter in the solar system.

Beaty, DW, Miller S, Zimmerman W, Bada J, Conrad P, Dupuis E, Huntsberger T, Ivlev R, Kim SS, Lee BG, Lindstrom D, Lorenzoni L, Mahaffy P, McNamara K, Papanastassiou D, Patrick S, Peters S, Rohatgi N, Simmonds JJ, Spray J, Swindle TD, Tamppari L, Treiman A, Wolfenbarger JK, Zent A.  2004.  Planning for a Mars in situ sample preparation and distribution (SPAD) system. Planetary and Space Science. 52:55-66.   10.1016/j.pss.2003.08.016   AbstractWebsite

For Mars in situ landed missions, it has become increasingly apparent that significant value may be provided by a shared system that we call a Sample Preparation and Distribution (SPAD) System. A study was conducted to identify the issues and feasibility of such a system for these missions that would provide common functions for: receiving a variety of sample types from multiple sample acquisition systems; conducting preliminary characterization of these samples with non-destructive science instruments and making decisions about what should happen to the samples; performing a variety of sample preparation functions- and, finally, directing the prepared samples to additional science instruments for further analysis. Scientific constraints on the functionality of the system were identified, such as triage, contamination management, and various sample preparation steps, e.g., comminution, splitting, rock surfacing, and sieving. Some simplifying strategies were recommended and an overall science flow was developed. Engineering functional requirements were also investigated and example architectures developed. Preliminary conclusions are that shared SPAD facility systems could indeed add value to future Mars in situ landed missions if they are designed to respond to the particular requirements and constraints of those missions, that such a system appears feasible for consideration, and that certain standards should be developed for key SPAD interfaces. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Sagan, C, Khare BN, Thompson WR, McDonald GD, Wing MR, Bada JL, Tuan VD, Arakawa ET.  1993.  Polycyclic Aromatic-Hydrocarbons in the Atmospheres of Titan and Jupiter. Astrophysical Journal. 414:399-405.   10.1086/173086   AbstractWebsite

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are important components of the interstellar medium and carbonaceous chondrites, but have never been identified in the reducing atmospheres of the outer solar system. Incompletely characterized complex organic solids (tholins) produced by irradiating simulated Titan atmospheres reproduce well the observed UV/visible/IR optical constants of the Titan stratospheric haze. Titan tholin and a tholin generated in a crude simulation of the atmosphere of Jupiter are examined by two-step laser desorption/multiphoton ionization mass spectrometry. A range of two- to four-ring PAHs, some with one to four alkylation sites are identified, with net abundance approximately 10(-4) g g-1 (grams per gram) of tholins produced. Synchronous fluorescence techniques confirm this detection. Titan tholins have proportionately more one- and two-ring PAHs than do Jupiter tholins, which in turn have more four-ring and larger PAHs. The four-ringed PAH chrysene, prominent in some discussions of interstellar grains, is found in Jupiter tholins. Solid state C-13 NMR spectroscopy suggests congruent-to 25% of the total C in both tholins is tied up in aromatic and/or aliphatic alkenes. IR spectra indicate an upper limit in both tholins of congruent-to 6% by mass in benzenes, heterocyclics, and PAHs with more than four rings. Condensed PAHs may contribute at most approximately 10% to the observed detached limb haze layers on Titan. As with interstellar PAHs, the synthesis route of planetary PAHs is likely to be via acetylene addition reactions.

Bada, JL, Wang XYS, Hamilton H.  1999.  Preservation of key biomolecules in the fossil record: current knowledge and future challenges. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences. 354:77-86.   10.1098/rstb.1999.0361   AbstractWebsite

We have developed a model based on the analyses of modern and Pleistocene eggshells and mammalian bones which can be used to understand the preservation of amino acids and other important biomolecules such as DNA in fossil specimens. The model is based on the following series of diagenetic reactions and processes involving amino acids: the hydrolysis of proteins and the subsequent loss of hydrolysis products from the fossil matrix with increasing geologic age; the racemization of amino acids which produces totally racemized amino acids in 10(5)-10(6) years in most environments on the Earth; the introduction of contaminants into the fossil that lowers the enantiomeric (D:L) ratios produced via racemization; and the condensation reactions between amino acids, as well as other compounds with primary amino groups, and sugars which yield humic acid-like polymers. This model was used to evaluate whether useful amino acid and DNA sequence information is preserved in a variety of human, amber-entombed insect and dinosaur specimens. Most skeletal remains of evolutionary interest with respect to the origin of modern humans are unlikely to preserve useful biomolecular information although those from high latitude sites may be an exception. Amber-entombed insects contain well-preserved unracemized amino acids, apparently because of the anhydrous nature of the amber matrix, and thus may contain DNA fragments which have retained meaningful genetic information. Dinosaur specimens contain mainly exogenous amino acids, although traces of endogenous amino acids may be present in some cases. Future ancient biomolecule research which takes advantage of new methologies involving, for example, humic acid cleaving reagents and microchip-based DNA-protein detection and sequencing, along with investigations of very slow biomolecule diagenetic reactions such as the racemization of isoleucine at the beta-carbon, will lead to further enhancements of our understanding of biomolecule preservation in the fossil record.

Kminek, G, Bada JL, Pogliano K, Ward JF.  2003.  Radiation-dependent limit for the viability of bacterial spores in halite fluid inclusions and on Mars. Radiation Research. 159:722-729.   10.1667/0033-7587(2003)159[0722:rlftvo];2   AbstractWebsite

When claims for the long-term survival of viable organisms are made, either within terrestrial minerals or on Mars, considerations should be made of the limitations imposed by the naturally occurring radiation dose to which they have been exposed. We investigated the effect of ionizing radiation on different bacterial spores by measuring the inactivation constants for B. subtilis and S. marismortui spores in solution as well as for dry spores of B. subtilis and B. thuringiensis. S. marismortui is a halophilic spore that is genetically similar to the recently discovered 2-9-3 bacterium from a halite fluid inclusion, claimed to be 250 million years old (Vreeland et al, Nature 407, 897-900, 2000). B. thuringiensis is a soil bacterium that is genetically similar to the human pathogens B. anthracis and B. cereus (Helgason et al., Appl. Environ. Microbiol 66, 2627-2630, 2000). To relate the inactivation constant to some realistic environments, we calculated the radiation regimen in a halite fluid inclusion and in the Martian subsurface over time. Our conclusion is that the ionizing dose of radiation in those environments limits the survival of viable bacterial spores over long periods. In the absence of an active repair mechanism in the dormant state, the long-term survival of spores is limited to less than 109 million years in halite fluid inclusions, to 100 to 160 million years in the Martian subsurface below 3 m, and to less than 600,000 years in the uppermost meter of Mars. (C) 2003 by Radiation Research Society.

Wills, C, iBada J.  2000.  The Spark of LIfe: Darwin and the Primeval soup. : Perseus publishing
Schoeninger, MJ, Bada JL, Masters PM, Bettinger RL, White TD.  2011.  Unexamined Bodies of Evidence. Science. 332:916-916.Website
Aubrey, AD, Chalmers JH, Bada JL, Grunthaner FJ, Amashukeli X, Willis P, Skelley AM, Mathies RA, Quinn RC, Zent AP, Ehrenfreund P, Amundson R, Glavin DP, Botta O, Barron L, Blaney DL, Clark BC, Coleman M, Hofmann BA, Josset JL, Rettberg P, Ride S, Robert F, Sephton MA, Yen A.  2008.  The Urey instrument: An advanced in situ organic and oxidant detector for Mars exploration. Astrobiology. 8:583-595.   10.1089/ast.2007.0169   AbstractWebsite

The Urey organic and oxidant detector consists of a suite of instruments designed to search for several classes of organic molecules in the martian regolith and ascertain whether these compounds were produced by biotic or abiotic processes using chirality measurements. These experiments will also determine the chemical stability of organic molecules within the host regolith based on the presence and chemical reactivity of surface and atmospheric oxidants. Urey has been selected for the Pasteur payload on the European Space Agency's (ESA's) upcoming 2013 ExoMars rover mission. The diverse and effective capabilities of Urey make it an integral part of the payload and will help to achieve a large portion of the mission's primary scientific objective: "to search for signs of past and present life on Mars." This instrument is named in honor of Harold Urey for his seminal contributions to the fields of cosmochemistry and the origin of life.