A three-dimensional (3D) HPLC system in combination with fluorescence derivatization has been developed for the highly sensitive and selective analysis of chiral amino acids in extraterrestrial samples. As the targets, alanine (Ala), 2-aminobutyric acid (2AB), valine (Val), norvaline (nVal) and isovaline (iVal), frequently found chiral amino acids in the carbonaceous chondrites, were selected. These amino acids were pre-column derivatized with 4-fluoro-7-nitro-2,1,3-benzoxadiazole (NBD-F), and the target analytes were separated from other amino acids and organic compounds by a reversed-phase column in the first dimension. The targets were further separated from interferences by an anion-exchange column in the second dimension, and their enantiomers were separated and determined in the third dimension by a Pirkle-type enantioselective column. The present 3D-HPLC system was validated and applied to the Murchison meteorite and the Antarctic meteorites, and all of the target amino acid enantiomers were clearly observed (0.78-22.33 nmol/g in the Murchison meteorite and 1.79-78.84 nmol/g in the Antarctic meteorites) without severe interferences. The %L values of the non-proteinogenic amino acids were almost 50% in both meteorites, and even the proteinogenic amino acids were almost racemic in the Antarctic meteorites.
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