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Søren Vrønning Hoffmann

The Astrophysical Formation of Asymmetric Molecules and the Emergence of a Chiral Bias

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  • Adrien D. Garcia, Univ Nice Sophia Antipolis, Universite Nice Sophia Antipolis, Inst Chim Nice, UMR CNRS 7272, France
  • Cornelia Meinert, Univ Cote Azur, Universite Cote d'Azur, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Inst Chim Nice, CNRS, UMR 7272, France
  • Haruna Sugahara, Univ Nice Sophia Antipolis, Universite Nice Sophia Antipolis, Inst Chim Nice, UMR CNRS 7272, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, France
  • Nykola C. Jones
  • Søren Vrønning Hoffmann
  • Uwe J. Meierhenrich, Univ Cote Azur, Universite Cote d'Azur, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Inst Chim Nice, CNRS, UMR 7272, France

The biomolecular homochirality in living organisms has been investigated for decades, but its origin remains poorly understood. It has been shown that circular polarized light (CPL) and other energy sources are capable of inducing small enantiomeric excesses (ees) in some primary biomolecules, such as amino acids or sugars. Since the first findings of amino acids in carbonaceous meteorites, a scenario in which essential chiral biomolecules originate in space and are delivered by celestial bodies has arisen. Numerous studies have thus focused on their detection, identification, and enantiomeric excess calculations in extraterrestrial matrices. In this review we summarize the discoveries in amino acids, sugars, and organophosphorus compounds in meteorites, comets, and laboratory-simulated interstellar ices. Based on available analytical data, we also discuss their interactions with CPL in the ultraviolet (UV) and vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) regions, their abiotic chiral or achiral synthesis, and their enantiomeric distribution. Without doubt, further laboratory investigations and upcoming space missions are required to shed more light on our potential extraterrestrial molecular origins.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
JournalLife
Volume9
Issue1
Number of pages21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2019

    Research areas

  • Amino acids, Chirality, Comets, Interstellar, Meteorites, Sugars

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