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Vitamin K.

A Danish biochemist, Carl Peter Henrik Dam (1895-1976), fed hens a synthetic diet and noticed that on some diets they developed small hemorrhages under the skin and within the muscles. Vitamin C, which cures some conditions like that, didn't help.

He finally decided that the problem stemmed from lack of some fat-soluble vitamin not yet known, the presence of which was necessary for proper coagulation of the blood. He named it vitamin K (for koagulation, the German spelling of the word).

This was done in 1934, but it was not till 1939 that the American biochemist Edward Adelbert Doisy (1893-1986) worked out the structure of the vitamin and synthesized it. For this work, Dam and Doisy shared the Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology in 1943.

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Author:Asimov, Isaac
Publication:Asimov's Chronology of Science & Discovery, Updated ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1994
Words:126
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