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Chirality

Chirality and the origin of life: in situ enantiomeric separation for future space missions.


PMID 12112349

Abstract

Two different methods of derivatization were studied in order to select and optimize one for the in situ enantiomeric separation of amino acids present in Martian samples. The method, using DMF-DMA [N,N-dimethylformamide dimethyl acetal], is simple and easily automated. However, byproducts of the reaction interfere in the gas chromatograms and mass spectrometry detection is needed for in situ analysis. The chloroformate derivatization has several advantages, including the use of achiral robust capillary column, room temperature reaction, and short analysis. The choice of the definitive derivatization method will depend on the energy and time devoted to the analysis of amino acids in the next Mars exploration missions.