Indigenous amino acids in primitive CR meteorites

Authors


*E-mail: z.martins@imperial.ac.uk

Abstract

Abstract— –CR chondrites are among the most primitive meteorites. In this paper, we report the first measurements of amino acids in Antarctic CR meteorites. Three CRs, Elephant Moraine (EET) 92042, Graves Nunataks (GRA) 95229, and Grosvenor Mountains (GRO) 95577, were analyzed for their amino acid content using high-performance liquid chromatography with UV fluorescence detection (HPLC-FD) and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Our data show that EET 92042 and GRA 95229 are the most amino acid–rich chondrites ever analyzed, with total amino acid concentrations ranging from 180 ppm to 249 ppm. The most abundant amino acids present in the EET 92042 and GRA 95229 meteorites are the α-amino acids glycine, isovaline, α-aminoisobutyric acid (α-AIB), and alanine, with δ13C values ranging from +31.6‰ to +50.5‰. The carbon isotope results together with racemic enantiomeric ratios determined for most amino acids strongly indicate an extraterrestrial origin for these compounds. Compared to Elephant Moraine (EET) 92042 and GRA 95229, the more aqueously altered GRO 95577 is depleted in amino acids. In both CRs and CMs, the absolute amino acid abundances appear to be related to the degree of aqueous alteration in their parent bodies. In addition, the relative abundances of α-AIB and β-alanine in the Antarctic CRs also appear to depend on the degree of aqueous alteration.

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