CHEMICAL EVOLUTION: AN APPROACH FROM RADIATION CHEMISTRY
Alicia Negron-Mendoza, Sergio Ramos-Bernal, María Colin-Garcia, Alejandro Heredia
Received: 5 MAR 2016,
Received revised: 6 MAY 2016,
Accepted: 12 MAY 2016,
Published online: 26 DEC 2016
Full Text (PDF)
To explain the origin of life on Earth, a period in which the synthesis of bio-organic compounds was carried out from simple inorganic molecules under the influence of natural energy sources is assumed. However, many prebiotic reactions require the input of energy. Ionizing radiation is a very efficient source of energy and may have participated in prebiotic synthesis due to its unique qualities—e.g., its ubiquity, its energy deposition method, and the effectiveness of its reactions, via free radicals. The use of this source is substantiated by calculations of the energy available from the decay of radioactive elements with long half-lives. Cosmic radiation is an external energy source that also could have contributed to chemical evolution processes, especially in extraterrestrial environments. In the context of chemical evolution, radiation chemistry can be a very precise and useful tool to simulate the changes that take place in organic molecules that are exposed to high-energy radiation. This work highlights the importance of ionizing radiation in prebiotic synthesis, in both water and frozen solutions, which reproduces both terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments.
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