E. Borisova(1), L. Avramov(1), V. Enchev(2), I. Angelov(2), M. Ranglov(2), D. Bratashov(3), D. Gorin(3), M. Kapralov(4), E. Krasavin(4), R. Saladino(5)
1) Institute of Electronics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1784, Sofia, Bulgaria
2) Institute of Organic Chemistry with Centre of Phytochemistry
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
3) Nano- and Biomedical Technologies Department, Saratov State University,
410012 Saratov, Russia
4) Laboratory of Radiation Biology, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research,
141980 Dubna, Russia
5) Dipartimento di Scienze Ecologiche e Biologiche, Università della Tuscia,
01100 Viterbo, Italy
This investigation is a part at answering the central question of the problem of the production of the prebiotic compounds underlying the formation of the living systems. Research is focused on the development of unified theoretical and experimental approaches taking into account the possible influence of the following factors: energy, evolution, protometabolic, and the primordial environment — on the origin of life. We are looking for a sequence of processes that can lead to the formation of a complete, chemically active prebiotic system.
Formamide (NH2CHO) is becoming one of the most intensively studied precursors for prebiotic syntheses of compounds potentially relevant for the origin of life.  It could be a parental molecule for synthesis of prebiotic molecules under proton irradiation. Different mineral content of meteorites gives variety of possible catalytic actions that would force this synthesis. The products of such processes could be detected by the spectroscopic methods. Therefore liquid formamide has been irradiated by high-energy proton beams in the presence of powdered meteorites, and the products of the catalyzed resulting syntheses were analyzed by Raman spectroscopy technique, which is an extremely sensitive spectral tool for evacuation of organic matter presence. The meteorites tested were representative of the four major classes: iron, stony iron, chondrites, and achondrites. In the irradiated samples were observed Raman signals from amino acids, carboxylic acids, and sugars, which correspond to some earlier investigations, when mass-spectrometry approach was used .
Raman spectroscopy could be used as a faster and non-destructive complementary tool for evaluation of synthesized prebiotic molecules in such model system “metheorite+proton irradiation + formamide”. The obtained results will contribute to the general understanding of the origin of life.
Acknowledgements: This work is supported in part by the National Science Fund of Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science under grant #DN-09/7/2016 “Modeling of the meteorite-catalyzed processes of prebiotic compounds formation”.
1) Saladino R, Crestini C, Pino S, Costanzo G, Di Mauro E, Formamide and the origin of life. Phys Life Rev 9(1):84–104 (2012).
2) Saladino R, Carota E., Botta G, Kapralov M, Timoshenko G, Rozanov A, Krasavin E, Mauro E, Meteorite-catalyzed syntheses of nucleosides and of other prebiotic compounds from formamide under proton irradiation, PNAS 112(21): E2746-E2755 (2015)
Dr. Ekaterina Georgieva Borisova
Institute of Electronics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Associate Professor
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