Vitamin B12, the ‘antipernicious anaemia factor’, is required for human and animal metabolism. It was discovered in the late 1940s and its unique corrin ligand was revealed approx. 10 years later by X-ray crystallography. The B12-coenzymes are cofactors in various important enzymatic reactions and are particularly relevant in the metabolism of anaerobic microorganisms. Microorganisms are the only natural sources of the B12-derivatives, whereas most spheres of life (except for the higher plants) depend on these cobalt corrinoids.

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