Radiolysis and Thermolysis of Cytosine: Importance in Chemical Evolution
An important aspect of chemical evolution is the study of the stability of organic molecules with biological significance in primitive conditions, especially in the presence of constant energy sources. An example of sets of biologically important organic compounds is nitrogenous bases. The presence of these compounds in prebiotic environments is very important in forming more complex systems, such as nucleic acids, in which nitrogenous bases are an essential component. The aim of the present work is to study the stability of cytosine, a pyrimidine base, in high-radiation fields or at high temperature and to evaluate its recovery. Our results show that the cytosine (1x10-4 M aqueous solution, oxygen-free) decomposed completely at a dose of 22 kGy, and 25% recovery was obtained with a dose of 7.4 kGy. The analysis of irradiated samples was followed by HPLC, HPLC-mass spectrometry and UV-VIS spectroscopy. The main product in both thermolysis and radiolysis was uracil, formed via a deamination reaction. Uracil is another nitrogenous base with biological significance.
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