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Pyrite-induced uv-photocatalytic abiotic nitrogen fixation: implications for early atmospheres and Life
Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Madrid, Spain.
Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Madrid, Spain.
Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Madrid, Spain.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology. Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Madrid, Spain.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4492-9650
2019 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 9, no 1, article id 15311Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The molecular form of nitrogen, N2, is universally available but is biochemically inaccessible for life due to the strength of its triple bond. Prior to the emergence of life, there must have been an abiotic process that could fix nitrogen in a biochemically usable form. The UV photo-catalytic effects of minerals such as pyrite on nitrogen fixation have to date been overlooked. Here we show experimentally, using X-ray photoemission and infrared spectroscopies that, under a standard earth atmosphere containing nitrogen and water vapour at Earth or Martian pressures, nitrogen is fixed to pyrite as ammonium iron sulfate after merely two hours of exposure to 2,3 W/m 2 of ultraviolet irradiance in the 200–400 nm range. Our experiments show that this process exists also in the absence of UV, although about 50 times slower. The experiments also show that carbonates species are fixed on pyrite surface.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nature Publishing Group, 2019. Vol. 9, no 1, article id 15311
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-76754DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-51784-8ISI: 000492825800021PubMedID: 31653928Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85074133351OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-76754DiVA, id: diva2:1371225
Note

Validerad;2019;Nivå 2;2019-11-19 (johcin)

Available from: 2019-11-19 Created: 2019-11-19 Last updated: 2019-11-19Bibliographically approved

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Zorzano Mier, María-Paz

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