Primary Step Towards In Situ Detection of Chemical Biomarkers in the UNIVERSE via Liquid-Based Analytical System: Development of an Automated Online Trapping/Liquid Chromatography System

Thomas Ribette, Bertrand Leroux, Balkis Eddhif, Audrey Allavena, Marc David, Robert Sternberg, Pauline Poinot, Claude Geffroy-Rodier
2019 Molecules  
The search for biomarkers in our solar system is a fundamental challenge for the space research community. It encompasses major difficulties linked to their very low concentration levels, their ambiguous origins (biotic or abiotic), as well as their diversity and complexity. Even if, in 40 years' time, great improvements in sample pre-treatment, chromatographic separation and mass spectrometry detection have been achieved, there is still a need for new in situ scientific instrumentation. This
more » ... rumentation. This work presents an original liquid chromatographic system with a trapping unit dedicated to the one-pot detection of a large set of non-volatile extra-terrestrial compounds. It is composed of two units, monitored by a single pump. The first unit is an online trapping unit able to trap polar, apolar, monomeric and polymeric organics. The second unit is an online analytical unit with a high-resolution Q-Orbitrap mass spectrometer. The designed single pump system was as efficient as a laboratory dual-trap LC system for the analysis of amino acids, nucleobases and oligopeptides. The overall setup significantly improves sensitivity, providing limits of detection ranging from ppb to ppt levels, thus meeting with in situ enquiries.
doi:10.3390/molecules24071429 fatcat:xx33pno5djexhbkfbtff347ena