Indigenous aliphatic amines in the aqueously altered Orgueil meteorite.

Aponte, J. C., Dworkin, J. P. and Elsila, J. E. (2015),

Meteoritics & Planetary Science. doi: 10.1111/maps.12507
Article first published online: 8 SEP 2015


“The CI1 Orgueil meteorite is a highly aqueously altered carbonaceous chondrite. It has been extensively studied, and despite its extensive degree of aqueous alteration and some documented instances of contamination, several indigenous organic compounds including amino acids, carboxylic acids, and nucleobases have been detected in its carbon-rich matrix. We recently developed a novel gas chromatographic method for the enantiomeric and compound-specific isotopic analyses of meteoritic aliphatic monoamines in extracts and have now applied this method to investigate the monoamine content in Orgueil. We detected 12 amines in Orgueil, with concentrations ranging from 1.1 to 332 nmol g−1 of meteorite and compared this amine content in Orgueil with that of the CM2 Murchison meteorite, which experienced less parent-body aqueous alteration. Methylamine is four times more abundant in Orgueil than in Murchison. As with other species, the amine content in Orgueil extracts shows less structural diversity than that in Murchison extracts. We measured the compound-specific stable carbon isotopic ratios (δ13C) for 5 of the 12 monoamines detected in Orgueil and found a range of δ13C values from –20 to +59‰. These δ13C values fall into the range of other meteoritic organic compounds, although they are 13C-depleted relative to their counterparts extracted from the Murchison meteorite. In addition, we measured the enantiomeric composition for the chiral monoamines (R)- and (S)-sec-butylamine in Orgueil, and found it was racemic within experimental error, in contrast with the l-enantiomeric excess found for its amino acid structural analog isovaline. The racemic nature of sec-butylamine in Orgueil was comparable to that previously observed in Murchison, and to other CM2 and CR2 carbonaceous chondrites measured in this work (ALH 83100 [CM1/2], LON 94101 [CM2], LEW 90500 [CM2], LAP 02342 [CR2], and GRA 95229 [CR2]). These results allow us to place some constraints on the effects of aqueous alteration observed over the monoamine concentrations in Orgueil and Murchison, and to evaluate the primordial synthetic relationships between meteoritic monoamines and amino acids.”