Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 265–272 | Cite as

Amino acids of the murchison meteorite:

I. Six Carbon Acyclic Primaryα-Amino Alkanoic Acids
  • J. R. Cronin
  • W. E. Gandy
  • S. Pizzarello


Six of the seven chain isomers of six-carbon acyclic primaryα-amino alkanoic acids (leucine isomers) have been either identified or confirmed in hot-water extracts of the Murchison meteorite using combined gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and ion exchange chromatography. 2-Amino-2-ethylbutyric acid, 2-amino-2,3-dimethylbutyric acid, pseudoleucine, and 2-methylnorvaline were positively identified by GC-MS. These amino acids have not been previously reported to occur in natural materials and may be uniquely meteoritic in origin. The presence of leucine and isoleucine (including the diastereoisomer, alloisoleucine) was confirmed. Peaks corresponding to norleucine were seen by ion-exchange and gas chromatography but characteristic mass spectra were not obtained. Theα-branched chain isomers in this series are quantitatively the most significant. These results are compared with literature data on amino acid synthesis by electrical discharge and Fischer-Tropsch-type catalysis. Neither model system produces an amino acid suite that is completely comparable to that found in the Murchison meteorite.

Key words

Amino acids Meteorites Chemical evolution Leucine isomers Amino acid analysis Carbonaceous chondrite 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. R. Cronin
    • 1
  • W. E. Gandy
    • 1
  • S. Pizzarello
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Center for Meteorite StudiesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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