Development of a Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopic Methodology to Detect Immobilized Organic Materials in Biogeological Contexts

Whitaker, Darren A., Munshi, Tasnim, Scowen, Ian J. and Edwards, Howell G.M. (2021) Development of a Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopic Methodology to Detect Immobilized Organic Materials in Biogeological Contexts. Astrobiology . ISSN 1531-1074

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1089/ast.2020.2278

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Development of a Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopic Methodology to Detect Immobilized Organic Materials in Biogeological Contexts
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Abstract

The likelihood of finding intact cellular structures on the surface or in the near subsurface of the martian regolith is slim, due in part to the intense bombardment of the surface by ionizing radiation from outer space. Given that this radiation is predicted to be so intense that it would render a living cell inactive within minutes, it is logical to search for evidence of microbial life by looking for molecules produced by the breakdown of cellular matter. This “pool” of molecules, known as biomarkers, consists of a range of species with various functionalities that make them likely to interact with minerals in the martian regolith. Raman spectroscopy, a molecularly specific analysis method utilized for detecting organic biomarkers among inorganic geomaterials, suffers from low signal intensity when the concentration of organics is as low as it appears to be on the martian surface. This article describes the utility of a surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) method used to detect extremely low levels of biomarkers that were passively adhered to mineral surfaces in a method that represents how this interaction would take place in a natural environment on Mars. The methodology showed promise for the detection of multiple classes of biomarkers.

Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F160 Organic Chemistry
F Physical Sciences > F163 Bio-organic Chemistry
Divisions:College of Science > School of Chemistry
ID Code:46132
Deposited On:23 Aug 2021 10:22

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