Radiolysis of Serine in High Radiation Field
The formation of amino acids under simulated condition suggests that this type of compounds were readily formed on the primitive Earth. Nevertheless, there is no conclusive explanation to the origin of their specific chirality in biological systems. Differences in their stability in the primitive conditions may give some clues about this unsolved problem. Protection mechanisms have been considered, such as the adsorption of the organic compounds onto mineral surfaces. By using HPLC/ELSD to analyze aqueous suspensions of serine adsorbed on clay (sodium montmorillonite) and a meteorite (Allende) irradiated in different doses with a cobalt-60 gamma source, the aim of this work was to study the possible protector role of these mineral surfaces when an amino acid, serine, is adsorbed onto them and the system is exposed to a high radiation source. The results showed that adsorption is better at acidic pH and desorption from the mineral at basic pH. The irradiation of the free amino acid destroyed it almost completely at a dose of 91 kGy, but the presence of the mineral abruptly decreases the decomposition, acting as a protective agent. At the same time, the results in aqueous solution show no statistically significant differences in adsorption or radiolysis of D and L serine.
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