Insights into the formation and evolution of extraterrestrial amino acids from the asteroid RyuguOPEN ACCESS 

Christian Potiszil, Tsutomu Ota, Masahiro Yamanaka, Chie Sakaguchi, Katsura Kobayashi, Ryoji Tanaka, Tak Kunihiro, Hiroshi Kitagawa, Masanao Abe, Akiko Miyazaki, Aiko Nakato, Satoru Nakazawa, Masahiro Nishimura, Tatsuaki Okada, Takanao Saiki, Satoshi Tanaka, Fuyuto Terui, Yuichi Tsuda, Tomohiro Usui, Sei-ichiro Watanabe, Toru Yada, Kasumi Yogata, Makoto Yoshikawa & Eizo Nakamura

Nature Communications, Volume 14, Article number: 1482
Published: 17 March 2023


“All life on Earth contains amino acids and carbonaceous chondrite meteorites have been suggested as their source at the origin of life on Earth. While many meteoritic amino acids are considered indigenous, deciphering the extent of terrestrial contamination remains an issue. The Ryugu asteroid fragments (JAXA Hayabusa2 mission), represent the most uncontaminated primitive extraterrestrial material available. Here, the concentrations of amino acids from two particles from different touchdown sites (TD1 and TD2) are reported. The concentrations show that N,N-dimethylglycine (DMG) is the most abundant amino acid in the TD1 particle, but below detection limit in the other. The TD1 particle mineral components indicate it experienced more aqueous alteration. Furthermore, the relationships between the amino acids and the geochemistry suggest that DMG formed on the Ryugu progenitor body during aqueous alteration. The findings highlight the importance of aqueous chemistry for defining the ultimate concentrations of amino acids in primitive extraterrestrial samples.”