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

Publication Date

6-2009

Publication Title

Astrobiology

Volume

9

Issue

5

First page number:

443

Last page number:

446

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.

Keywords

Exobiology; Glucose; Life on other planets; Mars (Planet) – Surface; Mars surface samples; Organic compounds

Disciplines

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

Language

English

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