Publications

Export 2 results:
Sort by: Author Title Type [ Year  (Desc)]
2000
Levy, M, Miller SL, Brinton K, Bada JL.  2000.  Prebiotic synthesis of adenine and amino acids under Europa-like conditions. Icarus. 145:609-613.   10.1006/icar.2000.6365   AbstractWebsite

In order to simulate prebiotic synthetic processes on Europa and other ice-covered planets and satellites, we have investigated the prebiotic synthesis of organic compounds from dilute solutions of NH(4)CN frozen for 25 years at -20 and -78 degrees C. In addition, the aqueous products of spark discharge reactions from a reducing atmosphere were frozen for 5 years at -20 degrees C. We find that both adenine and guanine, as well as a simple set of amino acids dominated by glycine, are produced in substantial yields under these conditions, These results indicate that some of the key components necessary for the origin of life may have been available on Europa throughout its history and suggest that the circumstellar zone where life might arise may be wider than previously thought. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

1998
Brinton, KLF, Engrand C, Glavin DP, Bada JL, Maurette M.  1998.  A search for extraterrestrial amino acids in carbonaceous Antarctic micrometeorites. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres. 28:413-424.   10.1023/a:1006548905523   AbstractWebsite

Antarctic micrometeorites (AMMs) in the 100-400 mu m size range are the dominant mass fraction of extraterrestrial material accreted by the Earth today. A high performance Liquid chromatography (HPLC) based technique exploited at the limits of sensitivity has been used to search for the extraterrestrial amino acids alpha-aminoisobutyric acid (AIB) and isovaline in AMMs. Five samples, each containing about 30 to 35 grains, were analyzed. All the samples possess a terrestrial amino acid component, indicated by the excess of the L-enantiomers of common protein amino acids. In only one sample (A91) was AIB found to be present at a level significantly above the background blanks. The concentration of AIB (similar to 280 ppm), and the AIB/isovaline ratio (greater than or equal to 10), in this sample are both much higher than in CM chondrites. The apparently large variation in the AIB concentrations of the samples suggests that AIB may be concentrated in rare subset of micrometeorites. Because the AIB/isovaline ratio in sample A91 is much larger than in CM chondrites, the synthesis of amino acids in the micrometeorite parent bodies might have involved a different process requiring an HCN-rich environment, such as that found in comets. If the present day characteristics of the meteorite acid micrometeorite fluxes can be extrapolated back in time, then the flux of large carbonaceous micrometeorites could have contributed to the inventory of prebiotic molecules on the early Earth.