Low molecular weight monocarboxylic acids, including acetic acid, are some of the most abundant organic compounds in carbonaceous chondrites. So far, the 13C- and D-enriched signature of water-extractable carboxylic acids has implied an interstellar contribution to their origin. However, it also has been proposed that monocarboxylic acids could be formed by aqueous reaction on the meteorite parent body. In this study, we conducted hydrous pyrolysis of macromolecular organic matter purified from the Murchison meteorite (CM2) to examine the generation of monocarboxylic acids with their stable carbon isotope measurement. During hydrous pyrolysis of macromolecular organic matter at 270-330 °C, monocarboxylic acids with carbon numbers ranging from 2 (C2) to 5 (C5) were detected, acetic acid (CH3COOH; C2) being the most abundant. The concentration of the generated acetic acid increased with increasing reaction temperature; up to 0.48 mmol acetic acid/g macromolecular organic matter at 330 °C. This result indicates that the Murchison macromolecule has a potential to generate at least ∼0.4 mg acetic acid/g meteorite, which is about four times higher than the amount of water-extractable acetic acid reported from Murchison. The carbon isotopic composition of acetic acid generated by hydrous pyrolysis of macromolecular organic matter is ∼-27‰ (versus PDB), which is much more depleted in 13C than the water-extractable acetic acid reported from Murchison. Intramolecular carbon isotope distribution shows that methyl (CH3-]-C is more enriched in 13C relative to carboxyl (-COOH)-C, indicating a kinetic process for this formation. Although the experimental condition of this study (i.e., 270-330 °C for 72 h) may not simulate a reaction condition on parent bodies of carbonaceous chondrite, it may be possible to generate monocarboxylic acids at lower temperatures for a longer period of time.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Meteoritics and Planetary Science|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2006|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Space and Planetary Science