Phenolic Ethers in the Organic Polymer of the Murchison Meteorite

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Science  14 Mar 1980:
Vol. 207, Issue 4436, pp. 1202-1204
DOI: 10.1126/science.207.4436.1202


Seven phenolic acids and many nonphenolic organic acids, including large amounts of meta-hydroxy (3-hydroxy) benzoic acid and 3-hydroxy-1,5-benzene-dicarboxylic acid, were obtained from the organic polymer of the Murchison C2 chondrite upon oxidation with alkaline cupric oxide. The phenolic acids apparently were derived from phenolic ethers in the polymer, which in turn probably were formed from carbon monoxide and hydrogen by catalytic Fischer-Tropsch type reactions in the solar nebula. In contrast, terrestrial polymers such as lignin, humic acid, and coal yield mainly para-hydroxy (4-hydroxy) benzene derivatives by the same oxidation procedure.