Article

Origins of life and evolution of the biosphere

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 99-109

Abiotic synthesis of amino acids and imidazole by proton irradiation of simulated primitive earth atmospheres

  • Kensei KobayashiAffiliated withDepartment of Physical Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Yokohama National University
  • , Masahiko TsuchiyaAffiliated withDepartment of Physical Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Yokohama National University
  • , Tairo OshimaAffiliated withDepartment of Life Science, Faculty of Science, Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • , Hiroshi YanagawaAffiliated withMitsubishi Kasei Institute of Life Sciences

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Abstract

Proton irradiation of simulated primitive earth atmosphere was performed, and amino acids and imidazole were analyzed. A mixture of carbon monoxide and nitrogen over water was irradiated by high energy protons (3 MeV, 0.6 µA) generated by a Van de Graaff accelerator for 2–5 h. Various kinds of proteinous and non-proteinous amino acids were detected in the irradiation products. Imidazole present in the irradiation products was also detected by high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. The present results suggest that compounds of biological importance such as amino acids could be synthesized from primitive earth atmosphere by radiation of cosmic rays and/or solar flare particles.