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New Applications of High-Resolution Analytical Methods to Study Trace Organic Compounds in Extraterrestrial Materials

1
Research Center for Planetary Trace Organic Compounds, Kyushu University, 744 Motooka, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka 819-0395, Japan
2
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Kyushu University, 744 Motooka, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka 819-0395, Japan
3
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 June 2019 / Revised: 21 July 2019 / Accepted: 22 July 2019 / Published: 26 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Chemistry in Astrobiology)
PDF [2388 KB, uploaded 26 July 2019]

Abstract

Organic compounds are present as complex mixtures in extraterrestrial materials including meteorites, which may have played important roles in the origin of life on the primitive Earth. However, the distribution and formation mechanisms of meteoritic organic compounds are not well understood, because conventional analytical methods have limited resolution and sensitivity to resolve their molecular complexity. In this study, advanced instrumental development and analyses are proposed in order to study the trace organic compounds of extraterrestrial materials: (1) a clean room environment to avoid organic contamination during analysis; (2) high-mass-resolution analysis (up to ~150,000 m/m) coupled with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) in order to determine the elemental composition using exact mass for inferring the chemical structure; (3) superior chromatographic separation using a two-dimensional system in order to determine the structural and optical isomers of amino acids; and (4) in situ organic compound analysis and molecular imaging of the sample surface. This approach revealed a higher complexity of organic compounds with a heterogeneous distribution in meteorites. These new methods can be applied to study the chemical evolution of meteoritic organic compounds as well as the molecular occurrence in very-low-mass extraterrestrial materials such as asteroid-returned samples.
Keywords: extraterrestrial materials; high mass resolution; high-resolution chromatography; in situ analysis; molecular imaging; enantiomeric amino acids extraterrestrial materials; high mass resolution; high-resolution chromatography; in situ analysis; molecular imaging; enantiomeric amino acids
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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Naraoka, H.; Hashiguchi, M.; Sato, Y.; Hamase, K. New Applications of High-Resolution Analytical Methods to Study Trace Organic Compounds in Extraterrestrial Materials. Life 2019, 9, 62.

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