US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Near the center of the Milky Way, in a huge cloud between the stars, astronomers have identified an organic molecule never previously found in an interstellar medium.
It is called propargylamine, and can play a key role in the formation of vital amino acids.
“The peculiarity of this chemical is its double carbon-nitrogen bond, which gives it a high reactivity,” explained astrochemist Luc Bisokki of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany.
“With such a double bond, it becomes a fundamental component of chemical chains that lead from the simplest and most common molecules in space containing carbon and nitrogen, such as formaldehyde (H2CO) and ammonia (NH3), respectively, to more complex amino acids. Acids, the fundamental building blocks of terrestrial biology. ”
The area in which the molecule was detected is a system of clouds rich in molecular gas. It is called the Central Molecular Zone, an area of great interest to astrochemists. It is a large repository of astrophysical complex organic molecules such as ethyl formate, isopropyl cyanide and propylene oxide.
They are known as prebiotic molecules because they play a role in prebiotic processes that create the building blocks of life, such as amino acids, RNA, and DNA.
As Bizokki noted, propargylamine can also be very important for these processes – molecules with a double carbon-nitrogen bond play an important role in a chemical process called Strecker synthesis, which is used to create amino acids in the laboratory.
In addition, propargylamine is structurally similar to a number of organic molecules that have already been identified in space.
The study was accepted for publication at Astronomy & Astrophysics and is available on the arXiv website.
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