By Anni Schleicher, Nutrition Insight
22 Feb 2021 — UK researchers have created a calculator that could improve the biomanufacturing of vitamin B12. It is currently the most expensive vitamin on the market, and with the rise of vegan diets – which can often lead to vitamin B12 deficiencies – this space is ripe for innovation.
The scientists found the corrin ring, or core component, of all active forms of vitamin B12 contains cobalt and cannot be produced without it. Cobalt is supplied by a metal delivery enzyme that “previously wasn’t understood.”
“Moreover, we learned how to calculate whether the enzyme is supplying cobalt efficiently or not,” corresponding author Dr. Tessa Young of the Department of Biosciences at Durham University tells NutritionInsight.
“This knowledge can be used to optimize the supply of cobalt to vitamin B12 and increase yields to make supplements more affordable.”
The calculator itself provides information about how metals are distributed to proteins inside cells. The study was conducted in partnership between the Quadram Institute and Durham University, published in Nature Communications.