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1 October 2007 The importance of the Maillard-metal complexes and their silicates in astrobiology
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The Maillard reaction occurs when sugars and amino acids are mixed together in the solid state or in the aqueous solution. Since both amino acids and sugar-like compounds are found on meteorites, we hypothesized that they would also undergo the Maillard reaction. Our recent work supports this idea. We have shown previously that the water-insoluble Maillard products have substantial similarities with the insoluble organic materials from the meteorites. The Maillard organic materials are also part of the desert varnish on Earth, which is a dark, shiny, hard rock coating that contains iron and manganese and is glazed in silicate. Rocks that are similar in appearance to the desert varnish have been observed on the Martian surface. They may also contain the organic materials. We have undertaken study of the interactions between the Maillard products, iron and other metals, and silicates, to elucidate the role of the Maillard products in the chemistry of desert varnish and meteorites. Specifically, we have synthesized a series of the Maillard-metal complexes, and have tested their reactivity towards silicates. We have studied the properties of these Maillard-metal-silicate products by the IR spectroscopy. The astrobiological potential of the Maillard-metal complexes is assessed.
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Patrick J. Liesch and Vera M. Kolb "The importance of the Maillard-metal complexes and their silicates in astrobiology", Proc. SPIE 6694, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology X, 66941G (1 October 2007);


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