March 2015


The detection of aminoacetonitrile (NH2CH2CN) was reported in 2008 by Belloche et al. toward Sgr B2(N) (the north complex) with the IRAM 30m telescope. Subsequent experimental study of aminoacetonitrile and its isotopomers by Motoko et al. provides more accurate and complete data for the species, which will be useful for future astronomical searches (such as with ALMA). A study of solid aminoacetonitrile by Borget et al. was published in 2012.

Aminoacetonitrile (or cyanomethylamine or glycinenitrile) is a precursor of the amino acid glycine, which has resisted definitive detection to date in the interstellar medium. Around 1930, Anslow & King and then Cocker & Lapworth reported yields of glycine of 83% and 92%, respectively, from the hydrogen sulfate salt of aminoacetonitrile via sulfuric acid hydrolysis. Derivatives of amino acetonitrile are used in veterinary medicine to expel parasitic worms (nematodes) from some livestock.

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