New Method for Peptide Studies
A new technique increases the accuracy of a benchtop instrument used in origin of life research.
Researchers supported in part by the NASA Astrobiology Program have developed a method that can be used to accurately measure the rate at which reactions involving peptides occur using only a benchtop instrument. By adding salts (potassium phosphate) to reactions involving glycine peptides, the team of scientists was able to measure the rate constants for hydrolysis using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. With this technique, benchtop NMR instruments can provide results that are as accurate as larger, more expensive equipment. The technique could open up origins of life research to a larger number of scientists who previously did not have access to equipment for high-field NMR spectroscopy.
The study, “Benchtop NMR Spectroscopy of Prebiotically-Relevant Peptide Reactions Enabled by Salt-Induced Chemical Shift Dispersion,” was published in the journal ACS Earth and Space Chemistry. The work was performed at the NSF/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution (CCE) at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. The CCE is a collaborative program supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the NASA Astrobiology Program. This research is a critical part of NASA’s work to understand the Universe, advance human exploration, and inspire the next generation. As NASA’s Artemis program moves forward with human exploration of the Moon, the search for life on other worlds remains a top priority for the agency.