Title

Stereo-Specific Glucose Consumption May Be Used to Distinguish Between Chemical and Biological Reactivity on Mars: A Preliminary Test on Earth

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Two alternative hypotheses explain the degradation of organics in the Viking Labeled Release experiment on Mars. Either martian soil contains live indigenous microorganisms or it is sterile but chemically reactive. These two possibilities could be distinguished by the use of pure preparations of glucose isomers. In the laboratory, selected eukaryotes, bacteria, and archaea consumed only D-glucose, not L-glucose, while permanganate oxidized both isomers. On Mars, selective consumption of either D- or L-glucose would constitute evidence for biological activity.

Disciplines

Astrophysics and Astronomy | Life Sciences | Organic Chemistry | Other Life Sciences | The Sun and the Solar System