Life 2013, 3(3), 449-473; doi:10.3390/life3030449
Article

Stability toward High Energy Radiation of Non-Proteinogenic Amino Acids: Implications for the Origins of Life

1 Actinium Chemical Research srl, Via Casilina 1626A, Rome 00133, Italy 2 Astrophysical Observatory of Catania, Via S. Sofia 78, Catania 95123, Italy 3 Astrophysical Institute of Canary Islands, Via Lactea s/n, La Laguna 38200, Tenerife, Spain 4 Institute of Chemical Methodologies, CNR, Via Salaria Km 29,300, Monterotondo Stazione, Rome 00016, Italy 5 National Center for Astronomy, KACST, P.O. Box 6086, Riyad 11442, Saudi Arabia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 May 2013; in revised form: 15 May 2013 / Accepted: 10 July 2013 / Published: 30 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planet Formation and the Rise of Life)
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Abstract: A series of non-proteinogenic amino acids, most of them found quite commonly in the meteorites known as carbonaceous chondrites, were subjected to solid state radiolysis in vacuum to a total radiation dose of 3.2 MGy corresponding to 23% of the total dose expected to be taken by organic molecules buried in asteroids and meteorites since the beginning of the solar system 4.6 × 109 years ago. The radiolyzed amino acids were studied by FT-IR spectroscopy, Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and by polarimety and Optical Rotatory Dispersion (ORD). It is shown that an important fraction of each amino acid is able to “survive” the massive dose of radiation, while the enantiomeric excess is partially preserved. Based on the results obtained, it is concluded that it is unsurprising to find amino acids even in enantiomeric excess in carbonaceous chondrites.
Keywords: amino acids; non-proteinogenic; radiolysis; degradation; stability; optical activity; racemization

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MDPI and ACS Style

Cataldo, F.; Iglesias-Groth, S.; Angelini, G.; Hafez, Y. Stability toward High Energy Radiation of Non-Proteinogenic Amino Acids: Implications for the Origins of Life. Life 2013, 3, 449-473.

AMA Style

Cataldo F, Iglesias-Groth S, Angelini G, Hafez Y. Stability toward High Energy Radiation of Non-Proteinogenic Amino Acids: Implications for the Origins of Life. Life. 2013; 3(3):449-473.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cataldo, Franco; Iglesias-Groth, Susana; Angelini, Giancarlo; Hafez, Yaser. 2013. "Stability toward High Energy Radiation of Non-Proteinogenic Amino Acids: Implications for the Origins of Life." Life 3, no. 3: 449-473.

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