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Detection of Biological Bricks in Space. The Case of Adenine in Silica Aerogel

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Département de Chimie Sorbonne Université, CNRS MONARIS UMR8233, 4 Place Jussieu, F-75005 Paris, France
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Institut de Systématique, CNRS Sorbonne Université, MNHN, UMR 7205, Evolution, Biodiversité, ISYEB, F-75005 Paris, France
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Department of Physics, Chiba University, Chiba 263-8522, Japan
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Department of Applied Life Sciences, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, Hachiojishi, Tokyo 192-0392, Japan
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 September 2019 / Revised: 15 October 2019 / Accepted: 24 October 2019 / Published: 26 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Themed Issue Commemorating Prof. David Deamer's 80th Birthday)
Space missions using probes to return dust samples are becoming more frequent. Dust collectors made of silica aerogel blocks are used to trap and bring back extraterrestrial particles for analysis. In this work, we show that it is possible to detect traces of adenine using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). The method was first optimized using adenine deposition on glass slides and in glass wells. After this preliminary step, adenine solution was injected into the silica aerogel. Finally, gaseous adenine was successfully trapped in the aerogel. The presence of traces of adenine was monitored by SERS through its characteristic bands at 732, 1323, and 1458 cm−1 after the addition of the silver Creighton colloid. Such a method can be extended in the frame of Tanpopo missions for studying the interplanetary transfer of prebiotic organic compounds of biological interest. View Full-Text
Keywords: adenine; Tanpopo mission; aerogel; SERS; origins of life adenine; Tanpopo mission; aerogel; SERS; origins of life
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MDPI and ACS Style

Percot, A.; Zins, E.-L.; Al Araji, A.; Ngo, A.-T.; Vergne, J.; Tabata, M.; Yamagishi, A.; Maurel, M.-C. Detection of Biological Bricks in Space. The Case of Adenine in Silica Aerogel. Life 2019, 9, 82.

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