National University Corporation Okayama University
[Okayama University] Traces of amino acid production recorded on asteroid Ryugu – A snapshot of water-organic reactions in the early solar system –
April 4, 2023
National University Corporation Okayama University
-Points of announcement-
All life on Earth is made up of proteins made up of long chains of amino acids. So far, it has been mentioned that the amino acids that could be the origin of life on Earth may have been supplied from an
When we calculated the concentration of amino acids contained in the two particles recovered from Ryugu, we found that the concentrations of some amino acids differed between the particles. These amino acids are thought to have formed in the Ryugu precursor (asteroid) as a result of precursors reacting with fluids. It was shown that some of the amino acids contained in asteroids and meteorites were formed in icy bodies.
Some of the amino acids may have been formed in small celestial bodies containing ice such as asteroids, and these amino acids may have brought life on Earth as a result of these amino acids being transported to Earth through collision events.
A research group led by Assistant Professor Christian Potichel of the Institute for Planetary Materials, National University Corporation Okayama University (Headquarters: Kita-ku, Okayama City) determined the concentrations of amino acids contained in Ryugu particles collected from two different locations. The carbonate-rich particles contained a large amount of the amino acid dimethylglycine, while the other particles did not detect the amino acid dimethylglycine. This result clarified that amino acids were formed on asteroids in the early solar system, and that water played an important role during this time.
These research results were published online in Nature Communications on March 17, 2023.
Figure 1. (a) Optical microscopic image of the A0022 sample collected from asteroid Ryugu (b) Electron microscopic image of internal structure. Carbonate and magnetite (denoted as Fe-oxide) formed by the precursor reacting with the fluid are observed.
Figure 2. Concentration of amino acids contained in particles C0008 and A0022 recovered from Ryugu. Different concentrations of
dimethylglycine (Dmg) from particle to particle indicate the production of amino acids in the space environment
◆ A word from Assistant Professor Christian Potichel
A long time ago, when I found out that amino acids were produced on the asteroid Ryugu, everyone in the lab went wild with joy. At the celebration, I got too excited and drank too much sake. This result is an important discovery that supports the idea that asteroids and comets are environments that form the origin of life. I will continue to experimentally understand the evolution of small bodies in the solar system.
Assistant Professor Christian Potichel
◆ Paper information
Paper title: Insights into the formation and evolution of
extraterrestrial amino acids from the asteroid Ryugu
Japanese title “Formation and evolution of amino acids in the extraterrestrial environment understood from comprehensive analysis of recovered samples from asteroid Ryugu”
Journal: Nature Communications
Authors: Christian Potiszil, Tsutomu Ota, Masahiro Yamanaka, Chie Sakaguchi, Katsura Kobayashi, Ryoji Tanaka, Tak Kunihiro, Hiroshi Kitagawa, Masanao Abe, Akiko Miyazaki, Aiko Nakato, Satoru Nakazawa, Masahiro Nishimura, Tatsuaki Okada, Takanao Saiki, Satoshi Tanaka , Fuyuto Terui, Yuichi Tsuda, Tomohiro Usui, Sei-ichiro Watanabe, Toru Yada, Kasumi Yogata, Makoto Yoshikawa and Eizo Nakamura
◆ Detailed research content
Traces of amino acid production recorded on the asteroid Ryugu ~ A snapshot of the water-organic reaction in the early solar system ~ https://www.okayama-u.ac.jp/up_load_files/press_r4/press20230331-1.pdf ◆ Reference
・Okayama University Institute for Planetary Materials (IPM)
・The Pheasant Memorial Laboratory (PML), Institute for Planetary Materials, Okayama University
◆ Reference information
・[Okayama University] French Embassy in Japan, Japan Atomic Energy Agency President and others visit the Institute for Planetary Materials ~Observation of samples collected from the asteroid Ryugu by the spacecraft “Hayabusa2″~
・[Okayama University] Okayama University Institute for Planetary Materials “Origin and evolution of asteroid Ryugu at a glance” is the base of knowledge [Suguwaka Academia. ] Start video distribution https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000833.000072793.html
・[Okayama University] Theoretically pointing out the possibility that asteroid Ryugu was once a comet – To clarify the origin of asteroid material collected by the asteroid explorer “Hayabusa 2” –
・[Okayama University] Samples collected from the asteroid “Ryugu” 300 million km away were released to the public in conjunction with the event!
・[Okayama University] Professor Eizo Nakamura of the Institute for Planetary Materials Receives the 2020 Hoshitori Prefectural Governor’s Merit Award
・Specially Appointed Professor Eizo Nakamura will be on stage at the keynote speech/special talk session of “Space Science World Hoshitori” https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000152.000072793.html
・Adopted by the Cabinet Office “National University Innovation Creation Environment Enhancement Project” Accelerating the
construction of an innovation ecosystem (Okayama University press release dated October 20, 2020)
◆Introduction to the Institute for Planetary Materials, Okayama University YouTube 4:53
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Institute for Planetary Materials (IPM), Okayama University (Misasa Town, Tottori Prefecture)
Location of Institute for Planetary Materials, Okayama University (from google map)
◆ Inquiries regarding this matter
Research Institute for Planetary Materials, Okayama University Assistant Professor Christian Potichel (English)
827 Yamada, Misasa-cho, Tottori Prefecture, 682-0193
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Eizo Nakamura (Japanese) Specially Appointed Professor, Natural Life Science Research Support Center, Okayama University
(Work location: Institute for Planetary Materials, Okayama University [827 Yamada, Misasa-cho, Tohaku-gun, Tottori Prefecture 682-0193]) TEL: 0858-43-3745
E-mail: eizonak ◎misasa.okayama-u.ac.jp
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