Upon γ-irradiation, glutamic acid, phenylalanine, serine, arginine, and methionine in aqueous solution formed appreciable amounts of malonaldehyde and small but measurable quantities of fluorescent compounds. The fluorescence yield was dose dependent within the range 100-1000 krads, and was fairly proportional to the amount of malonaldehyde formed. Irradiated amino acids that did not form malonaldehyde did not develop fluorescent products. Spectral characteristics of the fluorescent products and other analytical data suggested the presence of a Schiff-base type linkage, probably formed by conversion of some of the amino acid to malonaldehyde and its subsequent reaction with other amino acid molecules to form a Schiff base. This study shows the possible usefulness of fluorescence measurements to assess radiation damage to amino acids and proteins.

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