Radiolysis of the Glycolaldehyde-Na+Montmor- illonite and Glycolaldehyde-Fe3+Montmorillonite Systems in Aqueous Suspension under Gamma Radiation Fields: Implications in Chemical Evolution
The stability and reactivity of organic molecules with biological and pre-biological significance in primitive conditions are of paramount importance in chemical evolution studies. Sugars are an essential component in biological systems for the different roles that they play in living beings. The objective of the present work is to study the gamma radiolysis of aqueous solutions of glycolaldehyde, the simplest sugar and aqueous suspensions of glycolaldehyde-Na+-montmorillonite and glycolaldehyde-Fe3+Montmorillonite. Our results indicate that the radiolysis of the aqueous solutions of glycolaldehyde (0.03M), oxygen free, mainly produce the linear dimer known as eritriol (122 g/mol) and a sugar-like compound with six carbon atoms (180 g/mol). The experiments with the clay suspensions show that clays can adsorb glycolaldehyde and protect it from gamma irradiation. Additionally, it was observed that depending on the cation present in the clay, the percentage and the product (monomer or cyclic dimer) adsorption was different. In the case of Fe3+ Montmorillonite, this clay catalyzed the decomposition of glycolaldehyde, forming small amounts non-identified products. The analysis of these systems was performed by ATR-FTIR, UV spectroscopy, liquid chromatography (UHPLC-UV), and HPLC coupled to a mass spectrometry.
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