Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Electron Beam Irradiation as a Potential Lipid Decontamination Technique for Life Detection Instruments
by Buckner, Denise Kathleen, M.S., The University of North Dakota, 2020, 159; 28086254
Abstract (Summary)

In the search for extraterrestrial life, identification of molecular biosignatures is a key technique. Lipids are important molecular biosignatures: they are ubiquitous to terrestrial life, survive for billions of years in the geologic record, can form biotically and abiotically (bearing molecular features indicating biogenicity), and are detected throughout the Solar System. Lipid-based life detection instruments require stringent contamination control to prevent false positives, but traditional decontamination techniques are unlikely to sufficiently remove lipid contamination without compromising instrument materials. This thesis investigates Electron Beam Irradiation (EBI) as a potential decontamination technique; five representative lipid standards, including palmitic acid, oleic acid, heneicosane, 5α-cholestan-3β-ol, and 5-α-cholestane, were subjected to EBI at 0, 50, and 100 kilogray doses, then analyzed with gas chromatography mass spectrometry to determine removal efficiency. No significant degradation of lipids was observed at doses tested, suggesting EBI should not be utilized as a lipid decontamination technique for life detection instruments.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gaffey, Mike
Commitee: Dodge, Michael, Darby, Brian, Wilhelm, Mary Beth
School: The University of North Dakota
Department: Space Studies
School Location: United States -- North Dakota
Source: MAI 82/3(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Biogeochemistry, Planetology, Astronomy
Keywords: Astrobiology, Biomarker, Contamination control, Life detection, Lipid, Space science
Publication Number: 28086254
ISBN: 9798672102856
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