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PinkMonkey Online Study Guide-Biology

10.4 Vitamins

Vitamins are the complex organic compounds essential for complete, normal and healthy growth. Absence of any vitamin from the body results in specific deficiency diseases. Vitamins are naturally synthesized by most green plants. All phototrophic micro-organisms produce vitamins either as primary metabolic products or as fermentation products. Animals and human beings do not produce all vitamins in their bodies and must obtain them from food.


Vitamin B-12 - (Cyanocobalamine) : It is a compound containing cobalt. In nature, micro-organisms like Propionibacterium, Pseudomonas denitrificans, Streptomyces olivaceous, etc. synthesize vitamin B-12 from the medium containing cobalt-rich substrate (e.g. corn sugar, cane molasses, starch, etc.) Some of the micro-organisms present in the digestive system also produce vitamin B-12 in the natural process. Cyano-cobalamin is the most essential vitamin for human growth. Meat and fish are the main sources of vitamin B-12.

Vitamin B-2 - (Riboflavin) : Cereals, green vegetables, brewer’s yeast, etc. are the most common sources of vitamin B-2. Riboflavin is essential for growth and reproduction in animals. The natural biological synthesis of riboflavin occurs during fermentation by the fungus Ashbya gossypii and by another micro-organism, Eremothecium ashbyii.

In the biotechnological process for the commercial production of Cyano-cobalamin (vitamin B-12), genetically improved and highly efficient strains of Propionibacterium or Pseudomonase denitrificans are used. The common substrate used in the process is corn steep and glucose plus cobalt (5 ppm)

As a result of the biotechnological application, now the improved strain of P. denitrificans can produce 50,000 times more vitamin B-12 than its original strain. This is one of the most outstanding examples of the application of biotechnology.

Table of Contents

10.0 - Introduction
10.1 Fermentation
10.2 Manufacture of Alcohol
10.3 Antibiotics
10.4 Vitamins

Chapter 11





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