Carbon isotopic fractionation in Fischer-Tropsch-type reactions and relevance to meteorite organics


Corresponding author. E-mail:


Abstract— Fischer-Tropsch-type (FTT) reactions have been hypothesized to contribute to the formation of organic compounds in the early solar system, but it has been difficult to identify a signature of such reactions in meteoritic organics. The work reported here examined whether temperature-dependent carbon isotopic fractionation of FTT reactions might provide such a signature. Analyses of bulk organic deposits resulting from FTT experiments show a slight trend toward lighter carbon isotopic ratios with increasing temperature. It is unlikely, however, that these carbon isotopic signatures could provide definitive provenance for organic compounds in solar system materials produced through FTT reactions, because of the small scale of the observed fractionations and the possibility that signatures from many different temperatures may be present in any specific grain.