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A better measure for B12.

Vitamin B12 is actually a family of compounds called cobalamins, each of which has its own potential biological activity, in terms of absorption and potency. Meat and dairy products contain naturally occurring forms of B12. A synthetic form, called cyanocobalamin, is used to fortify foods and make dietary supplements in the United States. Currently, a time-consuming microbiological assay is used to analyze samples for their B12 content. This method measures only the total B12 content, not the individual forms.

A new method has been developed to measure cobalamins. It uses one of two separation techniques--capillary electrophoresis and micro-high-performance liquid chromatography--combined with a detection technique called inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. This hybrid method allows scientists to quickly detect and measure levels of specific individual cobalamins in food and supplement samples.

Nancy J. Miller-Ihli, USDA-ARS Food Composition Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland; phone (301) 504-8252, e-mail miller-ihli@bhnrc. usda.gov.
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Title Annotation:Science Update; Vitamin B12
Author:Miller-Ihli, Nancy J.
Publication:Agricultural Research
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2004
Words:147
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