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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 439; doi:10.3390/ijms17040439

The Role of Ultrahigh Resolution Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry (FT-MS) in Astrobiology-Related Research: Analysis of Meteorites and Tholins

1
Campus Chemical Instrument Center, Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Laboratory, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
2
Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG, Grenoble F-38000, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Laszlo Prokai
Received: 9 November 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 9 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry in Molecular Sciences)
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Abstract

It is an important but also a challenging analytical problem to understand the chemical composition and structure of prebiotic organic matter that is present in extraterrestrial materials. Its formation, evolution and content in the building blocks (“seeds”) for more complex molecules, such as proteins and DNA, are key questions in the field of exobiology. Ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry is one of the best analytical techniques that can be applied because it provides reliable information on the chemical composition and structure of individual components of complex organic mixtures. Prebiotic organic material is delivered to Earth by meteorites or generated in laboratories in simulation (model) experiments that mimic space or atmospheric conditions. Recent representative examples for ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry studies using Fourier-transform (FT) mass spectrometers such as Orbitrap and ion cyclotron resonance (ICR) mass spectrometers are shown and discussed in the present article, including: (i) the analysis of organic matter of meteorites; (ii) modeling atmospheric processes in ICR cells; and (iii) the structural analysis of laboratory made tholins that might be present in the atmosphere and surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. View Full-Text
Keywords: origin of life; prebiotic material; ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry; Fourier transform (FT); Orbitrap; ion cyclotron resonance (ICR); chemical compositions; isomeric structures origin of life; prebiotic material; ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry; Fourier transform (FT); Orbitrap; ion cyclotron resonance (ICR); chemical compositions; isomeric structures
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Somogyi, Á.; Thissen, R.; Orthous-Daunay, F.-R.; Vuitton, V. The Role of Ultrahigh Resolution Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry (FT-MS) in Astrobiology-Related Research: Analysis of Meteorites and Tholins. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 439.

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