Vitamins produced by microbial fermentation with examples

The human body needs vitamins to function properly and to keep ourselves energized with proper working of body. Some vitamins are already present in our body at the time of our birth but some need to be implanted externally and these vitamins are produced by microbial fermentation

Vitamins produced by microbial fermentation: 

Vitamins such as B2, B12 and C are produced by the technique of microbial fermentation. To know about these vitamins keep reading further.

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid is found in foods and fruits like tomatoes, kiwi, broccoli, capsicum, etc. These also in forms of pills and tablets. The formula for vitamin C is C6H8O6These help in healing wounds at a faster rate and in collagen synthesis which means it helps in the proper arrangement of events taken place intracellularly and extracellularly.

Deficiency of vitamin C can cause scurvy. The early symptoms of scurvy are tirednessweakness and pain in the arms and legs, if not treated can result in decreased red blood cellsgum disease and bleeding from the skin. Too much intake of vitamin C can cause abdominal painheadacheinsomnia and flushing of skin.

Structure of vitamin C
Structure of vitamin C
Vitamin B2:

Vitamin B2 also known as riboflavin is found in foods such as eggs, green vegetables, dairy products, meat, mushrooms and almonds and can also be taken through supplements. Just like vitamin B1, B2 can also be injected. Usually supplements are taken in order to reduce migraines (headache which can be moderate to severe and are not specified). Cellular respiration takes place due to the presence of vitamin B2 in our body. 

Vitamin B12 or riboflavin can be opted in foods which are not fortified (the foods which have no added micronutrients other than natural) like milk, eggs, cheese, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, etc. Deficiency can be caused by less intake of B2 food. The formula for vitamin B2 is C17H20N4O6
Structure of vitamin B2
Structure of vitamin B2
Vitamin B12:

This is the most common type of vitamin deficiency which is also known as cobalamin. It is a water soluble vitamin. It mostly plays a role of half functioning of our body it helps in metabolism of each and every cell of our body (what else do you need in life ?) and because it helps myelin synthesize which helps your nervous system to function normally. 

Well, as B12 helps in normal functioning of our nervous system deficiency of B12 can cause a lot of damage to the nervous system. Deficiency can cause fatiguedepressionpoor memorybreathlessnessheadache and pale skin. Meat eaters have a higher ratio of B12 compared to vegans as B12 foods are meat, eggs, etc. 

Structure of vitamin B12
Structure of vitamin B12


As you now know what vitamins are and the types, by what fermentation technology are vitamins produced ? Now we will know about, what are some of the examples and what are their microbial sources.

Name of the vitamin Microbial source
1. Vitamin B2 1. Neurospora gossypii 2. Eremothecium ashbyi
2. Vitamin B12 Pseudomonas dentrificans
3. Vitamin C Aspergillus niger

What are microbes ?

The word microbe is easy to understand, it's just a microscopic organisms also known as microorganisms which is present in the nature as well as on our bodies. These can be unicellular (having single cell) or in a bunch like these are connected to each other which looks like a colony of cells.

Well microbes are not just bacteria present everywhere but these are also used in industrial production like beer, organic acid, vitamin, antibiotic, etc.. Study of microbes is called microbiology.

There are 5 types of microbes in total which are bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa and viruses.

What do you mean by microbial fermentation ?

Fermentation is the process where carbohydrates are turned into alcohol or organic acids by the use of microbes like bacteria, algae, etc. is called microbial fermentation. This process is carried out in anaerobic condition that is when any other acceptors like oxygen or any other electron is allowed. 

Microbial fermentation is used in a lot of food products as well for example to make bread for that yeast is needed, even in simple a simple dhokla we mix besan and butter milk and this butter milk has a bacteria called lactobacillus in it which does the fermentation process. 

Not only in foods but also in different industrial production like antibiotics, vitamins, beers, etc this process is used. Now you might be wondering how can vitamins be prepared with this process and do microbes really contain vitamins which are sufficient for our body ? The answer is YES!! 

There are microbial sources for from where the ingredients to make vitamins are acquired and i'll be naming few right here.

What fermentation technology is used for vitamins production ?

Fermentation can be done biotechnically, chemically or by the process of bioconversion.  
  • Biotechnology fermentation - This is also known as industrial fermentation. If you're using anaerobic fermentation it is compulsory to make sure concentration of microorganisms is appropriate, cells, cellular components, enzymes and mostly importantly the temperature and pH. If aerobically than you need to make sure if there is proper circulation of oxygen.
  • Chemical fermentation - This process takes place in our bodies such as conversion of sugar (glucose, fructose and sucrose) into ATP (adenosine triphosphate). 
  • Bioconversion process - This is also known as biotransformation. By the help of this process organic materials are converted into useful products for humans or energy sources. 
Vitamins are produced by industrial fermentation that is biotechnology fermentation.

What are vitamins ?

Vitamins are the organic substances which our body requires to function properly but only if taken in small quantities. Not only deficiency of vitamins can cause vitamin deficient diseases but also efficiency of vitamins can (better not underestimate vitamins, mister!). They are organic because they always contain carbon in which helps the body convert calorie containing food into a source of energy.

Types of vitamins:

There are in total 13 vitamins in total such as vitamin A, C, D, E, K, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyroxidine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate) and B12 (cobalamin). 

Vitamins B and C are water soluble vitamins and vitamins A,D,E and K are fat soluble vitamins.

So for your better understanding refer to this table and read the article further:

Vitamin A:

Vitamin A includes organic compounds like retinolretinalretinoic acid and carotenoids. The formula for vitamin A is C20H30OFrom carotenoids the food which strikes us is carrot which is said to be good for our eye sight as it contains a lot of vitamin A. Without vitamin A you would not be able to grow as it is necessary for the growth of our body not just that it also helps in maintaining our immune system and as i said above also to have a good eye sight

Vitamin A can occur as a primary deficiency as well as a secondary deficiency. In primary deficiency it mostly affects children and adults who do not have a proper intake of vitamin A food, fruits or dairy products. In secondary deficiency it includes chronic malabsorption of lipids (fats), disability in production of bile may also result in releasing it when not required and even addiction to cigarette smoking/alcoholism

Structure of vitamin A
Structure of vitamin A

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is a secosteroid meaning it is derived from or a subclass of steroid which has a broken ring. It is required for increase in the intestinal absorption of magnesiumcalcium and phosphateD3 (cholecalciferol) and D2 (ergocalciferol) are the compounds from this group which are most important for humans. Sun is a natural source of vitamin D

Conversion of vitamin D by the help of hydroxylate (introduction of hydroxyl group in the organic compound) for it to activate it biologically. Deficiency of vitamin D can cause fatigue or tirednessfalling ill most oftenpain in the bone and backhair lossmuscles pain, etc. 

 Structure of vitamin D
Structure of vitamin D
Vitamin E:

It is a group of eight fat soluble compounds of tocopherols and tocotrienols, four of each. The formula for vitamin E is C29H50O2. Deficiency of vitamin E is rare and can be caused by problems with digesting fats. Low vitamin E can also cause nerve problems.

Vitamin E functions from stopping of oxidation taking place in the cell membrane hence known as antioxidant. As the deficiency of vitamin E is rare it can either be caused by mutation of a gene which codes for alpha-tocopherol transfer protein (𝛂-TTP).

Structure of vitamin E
Structure of vitamin E
Vitamin K: 

Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin which is the most important in certain complete synthesis of proteins especially the ones which help in blood coagulation (clotting of blood) and binding of calcium in the bones and other tissues. The only way to bind calcium ions is through vitamin K. The formula for vitamin K is C31H46O2

Deficiency of vitamin K can result in weakness of bones leading to osteoporosis and also start too much calcification in the arteries and the soft tissues. Calcification is collection of calcium salts in the body tissues. The two types of vitamin K are K1 and K2. K1 is found in leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage, etc and also in fats like butter or oil. K2 is found eggs, dairy products, meats and fermented foods (cheese, yogurt, etc). 

Structure of vitamin K
Structure of vitamin K
Vitamin B1:

Vitamin B1 also known as thiamine is found in foods and manufactured supplements or medications. The formula for vitamin B1 is C12H17N4OS+Foods which contain vitamin B1 are whole grain, meat and fish. Processing of grains reduces the B1 content in the food so cereals and flour are enhanced in thiamine. Usually vitamin B1 can be in the form of supplements but sometimes they can be injected into the veins (intravenous) or directly into the muscle (intramuscular). 

Deficiency of vitamin B1 can cause disorders like beriberiWernicke-Korsakoff syndromeLeigh's diseaseoptic neuropathy, etc. It also plays an important role in the growth of an infant, if there is deficiency there are chances of that infant to die which happens within a year or less and the cause can sometimes be unexplained. This is also known as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in common words crib or cot death

Structure of vitamin B1
Structure of vitamin B1

Vitamin B3:

Vitamin B3 also known as niacin or nicotinic acid. Again these are in the form of food as well as supplements but, foods which are fortified like tuna and some vegetables. The formula for vitamin B3 is C6H5NO2. Vitamin B2 or niacin belongs to a group of pyridinecarboxlyic acid which consist of a pyridine ring and a carboxyl group. Supplements are taken in order to treat high blood cholestrol and pellagra normally known as niacin deficiency.

Deficiency of vitamin B2 can cause nauseadamage to the skin and mouthheadachestiredness and anaemia. Niacin is also used for lowering of fats (lipid-lowering medications).

Structure of vitamin B3
Structure of vitamin B3
Vitamin B5:

Vitamin B5 also known as pantothenic acid and in anion form it is known as pantothenate. It is a water soluble vitamin and an essential nutrient which means it is used to survive in living organisms. It is required for coenzyme-A (helps to synthesize and oxidation of fatty acids and pyruvate in the citric acid cycle), synthesize and metabolize proteinscarbohydrates and fats

Foods which contain vitamin B5 are fortified foods such as whole-grain cereals, egg yolks, liver and dried mushrooms. The formula for vitamin B5 is C9H17NO5

Structure of vitamin B5
Structure of vitamin B5
Vitamin B6:

Vitamin B6 also known as pyridoxine again found in food and also in supplements. It can also be injected. Vitamin B6 supplements are taken for the treatment of pyridoxine deficiencysideroblastic anaemiapyridoxine-dependent epilepsymetabolic disordersproblems from isoniazid (antibiotic used for the treatment of tuberculosis) and mushroom poisoning

Sometimes side effects can cause headachenumbness and sleepiness. It is requires to make amino acidscarbohydrates and fats. Food sources are fruits, vegetables and grains. The formula for vitamin B6 is C8H11NO3.
Structure of vitamin B6
Structure of vitamin B6
Vitamin B7:

Vitamin B7 is also known as biotin is a water soluble vitamin. Before this was known as vitamin H or coenzyme R. It plays an important role in metabolic processes like utilizing fatscarbohydrates and amino acids. The formula for vitamin B7 is C10H16N2O3S. Deficiency of B7 can occur due to less intake of biotin in the diet.

Foods which contain biotin are eggs, cauliflower, mushrooms, cheese, roasted almonds, spinach, etc. Deficiency of biotin is rare. It plays a role in transfer of carbon dioxide, steady blood sugar level and making your hair and skin strong. There are many products for skin and hair which have biotin in them.

Structure of vitamin B7
Structure of vitamin B7
Vitamin B9:

Vitamin B9 is also known as folic acidfolacin and folate. It can be taken through supplements or can be directly injected. Just like B7 or B6, B9 is also a rare deficiency. The formula for vitamin B9 is  C19H19N7O6Supplements are given during pregnancy to avoid the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs)

Foods that contain vitamin B9 are citrus fruits, asparagus, beans, etc. 

Structure of vitamin B9
Structure of vitamin B9


What vitamins are produced in the human body ?
Ans: Vitamins D and K are produced in our  body.

What are chronic diseases ?
Ans: Chronic diseases are diseases which last for a long time.

What are fat soluble vitamins ?
Ans: The vitamins which are easily dissolved in fats like oil and butter are called fat soluble vitamins and these are stores in the fatty tissues.

What are water soluble vitamins ?
Ans: The vitamins which are easily dissolved in water are called water soluble vitamins and these are stored in the tissues of the body.  

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