Extraterrestrial hydroxy amino acids in CM and CR carbonaceous chondrites

Toshiki Koga, Eric T. Parker, Hannah L. McLain, José C. Aponte, Jamie E. Elsila, Jason P. Dworkin, Daniel P. Glavin, Hiroshi Naraoka

Meteoritics & Planetary Science
Version of Record online: 11 June 2021


“The abundances, distributions, and enantiomeric ratios of a family of three- and four-carbon hydroxy amino acids (HAAs) were investigated in extracts of five CM and four CR carbonaceous chondrites by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses. HAAs were detected in both the acid hydrolysates of the hot water extracts and the 6 M HCl extracts of all the CM and CR chondrites analyzed here with total hot water and HCl extractable HAA concentrations ranging from 6.94 to 315 nmol g−1. The HAA analyses performed in this study revealed: (1) the combined (hot water + HCl) extracts of CR2 chondrites contained greater abundances of α-HAAs than that of CM2 chondrites and (2) the combined extracts of CM and CR chondrites contained roughly similar abundances of β- and γ-HAAs. Application of the new GC-MS method developed here resulted in the first successful chromatographic resolution of the enantiomers of an α-dialkyl HAA, d,l-α-methylserine, in carbonaceous chondrite extracts. Meteoritic α-methylserine was found to be mostly racemic within error and did not show l-enantiomeric excesses correlating with the degree of aqueous alteration, a phenomenon observed in meteoritic isovaline, another α-dialkyl amino acid. The HAAs identified in CM and CR chondrite extracts could have been produced during parent body alteration from the Strecker cyanohydrin reaction (for α-HAAs) and an ammonia-involved formose-like reaction (for β-, and γ-HAAs).”