Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Amino acids are also part of many biological processes, where they play a large number of roles such as neurotransmitters. Amino acids include nitrogen in their composition, making nitrogen an essential resource for a Martian settlement. Amino acids can be produced biologically or artificially, using modified bacteria in biological reactors.
In Situ production
Amino acids can also be produced by plants, bacteria and animals in a 'natural' biological environment.
Some amino acids can be produced chemically, with no biological inputs. However, there are a large number of amino acids, and just a handful of them (22-23) are used if protein production.
- Non proteinogenic amino acids: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-proteinogenic_amino_acids