Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres

, Volume 36, Issue 5–6, pp 451–457 | Cite as

Cryogenic Synthesis of Molecules of Astrobiological Interest: Catalytic Role of Cosmic Dust Analogues

  • J. R. Brucato
  • G. Strazzulla
  • G. A. Baratta
  • A. Rotundi
  • L. Colangeli


We have studied the effects of the substrate, namely amorphous olivine (MgFeSiO4) cosmic dust analogues (CDAs), in synthesis of molecules obtained after 200 keV proton irradiation of formamide (NH2COH). Formamide has been deposited on the olivine substrate at 20 K. The abundances of new molecular species formed after an irradiation dose of 12 eV/16 amu in formamide pure (i.e. deposited on an inert silicon substrate) and deposited on CDAs have been compared. Specifically, MgFeSiO4 amorphous olivine is a selective catalyst preventing formation of NH3 and CN molecules and changing the relative abundances of \( {\text{NH}}^{ + }_{4} {\text{OCN}}^{ - } \), CO2, HNCO, CO. We have shown that the role of CDAs has to be taken into account in experiments simulating processes occurring in astronomical environments.


astrochemistry astrobiology methods: laboratory techniques: spectroscopy 



This research has been supported by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Italian Ministero dell’Istruzione, Università e Ricerca (MIUR).


  1. Allen M, Robinson GW (1977) APJ 212:396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bockelee-Morvan D, Lis DC, Wink JE et al (2000) A&A 353:1101Google Scholar
  3. Bredereck H, Gompper R, Morlok G (1957) Chem Ber 90:942Google Scholar
  4. Bredereck H, Gompper R, Klemm K (1959) Chem Ber 92:1456Google Scholar
  5. Brucato JR, Colangeli L, Mennella V, Palumbo P, Bussoletti E (1999) A&A 348:1012Google Scholar
  6. Brucato JR, Baratta GA, Strazzulla G (2006) A&A 455:395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Colangeli L, Henning Th, Brucato JR et al (2003) A&ARv 11:97Google Scholar
  8. Gould RJ, Salpeter EE (1963) Astrophys J 138:393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Greenberg JM, Schutte WA, Li A (1999) AdSpR 23:289Google Scholar
  10. Hill HGM, Nuth JA (2003) Astrobiology 3:291PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Langmuir I (1981) Am Chem Soc 40:1361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. McNaughton D, Evans CJ, Lane S, Nielsen CJ (1999) J Mol Spectrosc 193:104PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Millar TJ (2004) Organic molecules in the interstellar medium. In: Ehrenfreund P, Irvine W, Owen T, Becker L, Blank J, Brucato JR, Colangeli L, Derenne S, Dutrey A, Despois D, Lazcano A, Robert F (eds) Astrobiology: future perspectives, vol. 305. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 17Google Scholar
  14. Moore MH (1999) The physics and chemistry of ice in the interstellar medium. In: d’Hendecourt L, Joblin C, Jones A (eds) Solid interstellar matter: the ISO revolution. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 199Google Scholar
  15. Moore MH, Hudson RL (1998) Icarus 135:518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Raunier S, Chiavassa T, Duvernay F, Borget F, Aycard JP, Dartois E, d’Hendecourt L (2004) A&A 416:165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Rotundi A, Brucato JR, Colangeli L, Ferrini G, Mennella V, Palomba E, Palombo P (2002) Met Planet Sci 37:1623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rubalcava H (1956) PhD thesis, Caql. Inst. Of Tech. Pasadena, California
  19. Saladino R, Crestini C, Costanzo G, Di Mauro E (2004) Cour Org Chem 8:1425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Saladino R, Crestini C, Neri V, Brucato JR, Colangeli L, Ciciriello F, Di Mauro E, Costanzo G (2005) ChemBioChem 6:1368PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Schutte WA, Boogert ACA, Tielens AGGM, Whittet DCB, Gerakines PA, Chiar JE, Ehrenfreund P, Greenberg JM, van Dishoeck EF, de Graauw Th (1999) A&A 343:966Google Scholar
  22. Strazzulla G, Johnson RE (1991) In: Newburn R Jr, Neugebauer M, Rahe J (eds) Comets in the Post-Halley Era. Astrophys. Space Sci. Lib. vol. 167. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 243–276Google Scholar
  23. Tielens AGGM, Hagen W (1982) A&A 114:245Google Scholar
  24. Vidali G, Roser J, Manico G, Pirronello V, Perets HB, Biham O (2005) J. phys: conf ser 6:36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Yamada H, Okamoto T (1972) Chem Pharm Bull 20:623Google Scholar
  26. Yamada H, Okamoto Y, Yakugaku Z (1975) Chem Pharm Bull 95:493Google Scholar
  27. Warner JC, Stitt FB (1933) J Chem Soc 55:4807CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. R. Brucato
    • 1
  • G. Strazzulla
    • 2
  • G. A. Baratta
    • 2
  • A. Rotundi
    • 3
  • L. Colangeli
    • 1
  1. 1.INAF—Astronomical Observatory of CapodimonteNaplesItaly
  2. 2.INAF—Astrophysical ObservatoryCataniaItaly
  3. 3.University of Naples “Parthenope”NaplesItaly

Personalised recommendations