Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, Ricardo Amils, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, William M. Irvine, Daniele L. Pinti, Michel Viso


  • Jose Cernicharo
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-11274-4_377




Cyanoacetylene, HC3N (H–C≡C–C≡N), is an organic molecule that is the simplest cyanopolyyne (H(–C≡C–)n–C≡N). It was one of the first molecules detected in space using radioastronomical techniques (Turner 1971). It is also an important component of  Titan’s atmosphere (Kunde et al. 1981), where it is found in the gas phase in the upper atmosphere and in ice form in the lower stratosphere (see, e.g., Anderson et al. 2010). It is a trace constituent in cometary atmospheres (comae). Cyanoacetylene has been proposed as a prebiotic reagent for the formation of pyrimidine bases, nucleosides, and nucleotides (Sanchez and Orgel 1970; Powner et al. 2009).

See also


References and Further Reading

  1. Anderson CM, Samuelson RE, Bjoraker GL, Achterberg RK (2010) Particle size and abundance of HC3N ice in Titan’s lower stratosphere at high northern latitudes. Icarus 207:914ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Kunde VG, Aikin AC, Hanel RA, Jennings DE, Maguire WC, Samuelson RE (1981) C4H2, HC3N and C2N2 in Titan’s atmosphere. Nature 292:686ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Powner MW, Gerland B, Sutherland JD (2009) Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions. Nature 459:239ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Sanchez RA, Orgel LE (1970) Studies in prebiotic synthesis. V. Synthesis and photoanomerization of pyrimidine nucleosides. J Mol Biol 47:531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Turner BE (1971) Detection of interstellar cyanoacetylene. Astrophys J 163:L35ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Observatorio Astronomico NacionalCentro Astronomico de YebesGuadalajaraSpain