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Gas-phase methanol and ethanol have been observed in hot cores, the warm remnants of a molecular cloud in which massive star formation has recently occurred. The newborn stars heat the surrounding gas and dust, evaporating ice mantles containing alcohols which can then participate in gas-phase reactions. Model calculations show that methanol, ethanol, propanol, and butanol drive a chemistry which can form several esters and ethers; our models show that methyl ethyl ether and diethyl ether should form in detectable quantities in cores rich in methanol and ethanol. These reactions can also explain the low observed abundance of gas-phase ethanol in some hot core sources. Possible grain surface mechanisms for the formation of these alcohols will also be presented.
We acknowledge support via a DOE fellowship (MEK), a NAS/NRC research associateship at NASA Ames (SBC), a SERC grant to the UMIST Astrophysics Group (TJM), and a grant from NASA's Astrophysics Theory Program (AGGMT).
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