The University of Arizona

Amino acid analyses of Antarctic CM2 meteorites using liquid chromatography-time of flight-mass spectrometry

Daniel P. Glavin, Jason P. Dworkin, Andrew Aubrey, Oliver Botta, James H. Doty, Zita Martins, Jeffrey L. Bada


Amino acid analyses of the Antarctic CM2 chondrites Allan Hills (ALH) 83100 and Lewis Cliff (LEW) 90500 using liquid chromatography-time of flight-mass spectrometry (LC-ToF-MS) coupled with UV fluorescence detection revealed that these carbonaceous meteorites contain a suite of indigenous amino acids not present in Antarctic ice. Several amino acids were detected in ALH 83100, including glycine, alanine, β-alanine, γ-amino-n-butyric acid (γ-ABA), and ?-aminoisobutyric acid (AIB) with concentrations ranging from 250 to 340 parts per billion (ppb). In contrast to ALH 83100, the CM2 meteorites LEW 90500 and Murchison had a much higher total abundance of these amino acids (440-3200 ppb). In addition, ALH 83100 was found to have lower abundances of the α-dialkyl amino acids AIB and isovaline than LEW 90500 and Murchison. There are three possible explanations for the depleted amino acid content in ALH 83100: 1) amino acid leaching from ALH 83100 during exposure to Antarctic ice meltwater, 2) a higher degree of aqueous alteration on the ALH 83100 parent body, or 3) ALH 83100 originated on a chemically distinct parent body from the other two CM2 meteorites. The high relative abundance of ɛ-amino-n-caproic acid (EACA) in the ALH 83100 meteorite as well as the Antarctic ice indicates that Nylon-6 contamination from the Antarctic sample storage bags may have occurred during collection.


Chromatography;Antarctic meteorites;Amino acids;Contamination

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