View Full Version : [mcg] B12 from (plant) fermentation

Pages : [1] 2

Dec 5th, 2004, 03:49 PM
From http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20040131/food.asp :

Bacteria Brew a B Vitamin Boost

Janet Raloff

When looking for naturally rich sources of cobalamin, better known as vitamin B12, most people turn to meats. Because the essential nutrient generally isn't present in plants, vegetarians run the risk of deficiency, which can cause neurological symptoms from tingling toes to disorientation and memory problems. Many of these people therefore turn to synthetic supplements or certain algal products rich in B12, such as tablets made from the blue-green Chlorella species.

However, anyone looking for a B12 boost might find an even more palatable source of the important vitamin in certain teas treated with bacteria, Japanese chemists now show. Various bacteria can make B12, and the researchers confirmed substantial quantities of the vitamin B12 in Batabata-cha, a so-called fermented black tea.

Unusual forms of Asian black tea, prepared using bacteria, can lace their brews with vitamin B12, making them some of the rare plant-based foods to offer this beneficial nutrient.

Most Western black teas, such as Darjeeling and Keemun, fall into a category known as self-oxidized. For these products, tea harvesters spread freshly picked leaves on wire screens so they'll wither, losing up to 70 percent of their moisture. The limp leaves then get passed under rollers. Tea enzymes released from cells within the leaves during the process begin what's termed auto-oxidation, in which oxygen-driven chemical processes transform the green leaves into brown "fermented" leaves over a period of 30 minutes to a few hours.

For some Asian black teas, however, processors enlist bacteria to control the oxidation. Knowing that the microbes can introduce various other compounds into tea leaves, Hiromi Kittaka-Katsura of Kyoto Women's University and her colleagues investigated whether B12 might be one of them. It's a member of a family of cobalt-based compounds known as corrinoids. Kittaka-Katsura's team had experience in such analyses, having recently confirmed the presence of B12 in Chlorella seaweed sold as tablets in Asian health food stores.

First the chemists brewed up some Batabata-cha. Then they used two different analytical techniques to confirm the presence of corrinoids in the liquid. When the scientists then ran the same tests on the type of B12 that's used in dietary supplements and enriched foods, cyano-B12, the results matched those for one of the tea's corrinoids. This confirmed that one of the tea products was indeed B12.

Reduces vitamin deficiency

To confirm that the body also recognizes the compound as B12, Kittaka-Katsura's group substituted the tea for the drinking water administered to young-adult rats for 6 weeks. These animals had been raised on a vitamin B12?deficient diet. Other B12-deficient rats instead received regular water or water laced with cyano-B12.

Urine tests confirmed that the rodents drinking tea became decreasingly vitamin-deficient. In fact, they improved more than the rats receiving B12 supplements. Animals getting regular water stayed vitamin-deficient throughout the test. The tea-drinking rats also grew more rapidly than all the other rats. Kittaka-Katsura's group concludes that the free form of B12 in the tea is absorbed more efficiently than the cyano-B12.

In fact, Kittaka-Katsura told Science News Online, her group's tests indicate that ordinarily, 70 percent of the tea's corrinoids exist as cyanocobalamin and the rest as methyl- or adenosyl-cobalamin - two forms of B12 that are more easily taken up and used by the body. However, she adds, because of the way her team prepared the tea for the animal-feeding trials, the cyano form was not present. The food scientist notes that this may explain why the tea's B12 outperformed the cyano form provided as a supplement to some of the other rats.

Drinking even a liter or two of the tea, depending on its brewed strength, would deliver only about 20 to 40 nanograms of B12, the researchers note„far too little to satisfy the recommended daily intake of about 2.4 micrograms. However, Kittaka-Katsura's team points out that it might be possible to create fermented-tea extracts as supplements more potent than such teas.

For now, she says her team is looking to confirm the tea's B12 potency in tests with people.


Institute of Medicine. 1998. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Available at http://www.nap.edu/books/0309065542/html/index.html.

Kittaka-Katsura, H., et al. In press. Characterization of corrinoid compounds from a Japanese black tea (Batabata-cha) fermented by bacteria. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Further Readings:

Kittaka-Katsura, H., et al. 2002. Purification and characterization of a corrinoid compound from Chlorella tablets as an algal health food. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 50(August):4994-4997.

Raloff, J. 2000. Academic impacts of vegetarian childhoods. Science News Online (Oct. 7). Available at http://www.sciencenews.org/20001007/food.asp.

______. 1998. Microwaves bedevil a B vitamin. Science News 153(Feb. 14):105.

Seachrist, L. 1996. Government guidelines okay vegetarian diet. Science News 149(Jan.6):6.


Hiromi Kittaka-Katsura
Department of Food and Nutrition
Kyoto Women's University
Kyoto 605-8501

Dec 5th, 2004, 04:46 PM
Kombucha Tea, 'round these parts...I make my own. :)

Dec 5th, 2004, 08:50 PM
Poor rats. :(

Feb 8th, 2005, 01:07 AM
Nutritional and medicinal improvement of black tea by yeast fermentation
Chand Pasha, Gopal Reddy * Department of Microbiology, Osmania University, Hyderabad 500 007, AP, India
Food Chemistry 89 (2005) 449–453

Black tea fermentation with Dabaryomyces hansenii for 10 days resulted in accumulation of major vitamins, such as A, B1, B2, B12 and C in sufficient quantities to fulfil the recommended dietary allowances (RDA). Fermentation of tea by yeast resulted in reduction of caffeine and excess tannins in significant amounts. After fermentation, the amount of theophylline was increased to make fermented tea a potent bronchodilator. Tea fermentation with D. hansenii improved its nutritional and medicinal values. Our observations suggest that intake of fermented tea is advantageous over black tea in terms of its nutritive and therapeutic values.

http://faculty.ksu.edu.sa/18856/Articles/Fungal%20biotechnology%20in%20food%20and%20feed%20 processing.pdf

Jun 1st, 2005, 07:52 AM

Kimchi has high levels Vitamin B, C, and Beta Carotene. The levels of Vitamin B1 and B2, and B12 double after a 3 week-fermentation period.


Inoculation of kimchi, a Korean style fermented Chinese cabbage, with Propionibacterium freudenreichii ss. shermanii (ATCC No. 13673) increased vitamin B12 production to a maximum of 102 ng/100g from 47 ng/100g in the control at 1 wk of fermentation at 4°C. Soy flour (0.5%) or beef extract (0.05%), added as protein sources to the inoculated kimchi, further increased the vitamin activity to 197 and 203 ng/100g, respectively, at 1 wk. The fresh, unfermented kimchi contained 16.8 mg of ascorbic acid per 100g and the vitamin decreased at a constant rate during the first 5 wk of fermentation.

Jun 1st, 2005, 08:07 AM
Palm wine can be consumed in a variety of flavours varying from sweet unfermented to sour fermented and vinegary alcoholic drinks. There are many variations and names including emu and ogogoro in Nigeria and nsafufuo in Ghana. It is produced from sugary palm saps. The most frequently tapped palms are raphia palms (Raphia hookeri or R. vinifera) and the oil palm (Elaeis guineense). Palm wine has been found to be nutritious. The fermentation process increases the levels of thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxin and vitamin B12.More (http://www.fao.org/biotech/logs/C11/jul.htm)


Fermentation processes can result in increased levels of vitamins in the final product. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is able to concentrate large quantities of thiamin, nicotinic acid and biotin and thus form enriched products.

Sorghum beer in Southern Africa contains relatively high levels of riboflavin and nicotinic acid, which are important for people consuming a high maize diet. Pellagra (a vitamin deficiency disease associated with high maize diets) is unusual in communities in which sorghum beer is consumed. Even children benefit from consuming the dregs which contain relatively little alcohol but are rich in vitamins.
Palm wine in West Africa is high in vitamin B12, which is very important for people with low meat intake, and who subsist primarily on a vegetarian diet.
Pulque (a fermented plant sap) is an important source of vitamins for the economically deprived in Mexico. The fermentation process involved in Pulque production increases its vitamin content. For instance the vitamin content (milligrams of vitamins per 100g of product) of pulque increases from 5 to 29 for thiamine, 54 to 515 for niacin and 18 to 33 for riboflavin (Steinkraus, 1992) during fermentation.
Idli (a lactic acid bacteria fermented product consumed in India) is high in thiamine and riboflavin.


Palm sap is a sweet, clear, colorless liquid containing about 10
to 12% fermentable sugar and neutral in reaction (Okafor 1975);
Steinkraus 1979b). Palm wine is a heavy, milk-white opalescent
suspension of live yeasts and bacteria with a sweet taste and vig-
orous effervescence. Palm wines are consumed throughout the
tropics. Palm wine contains as much as 83 mg ascorbic acid/liter
(Bassir 1968). Thiamine increased from 25 ug to 150 ug/liter, ribo-
flavin increased from 35 to 50 ug/liter and pyridoxine increased
from 4 to 18 ug/liter during fermentation. Surprisingly, palm wine
contains considerable amounts of vitamin B-12, 190 to 280 pg/ml
(Van Pee and Swings, 1971). Palm toddies play an important role
in nutrition among the economically disadvantaged in the tropics.
They are the cheapest sources of B vitamins.

Jun 1st, 2005, 08:12 AM
White Wave uses B12 that comes from a vegetable glucose fermentation process. There are no animal products in the base culture and our B12 is vegan.
More (http://www.whitewave.com/index.php?id=17&cid=3#51)

Oct 26th, 2005, 04:22 PM
I am just interested to know about existence of Vitamin B-12 in so many Indian Food Stuffs like Dosa,Idli,Uttapam,Dhokla,Khaman,Jalebi or Bread which are made usually by adding Yeast and they are left for automatic fermentation in them. :confused:

Some says that there is no difference between Yeast and Nutrtional Yeast. :confused:

I want your opinion on this point.

Manish Jain

Aug 28th, 2006, 11:13 AM
More about B12/fermentation from IVU (http://www.ivu.org/news/march2000/ipbn.html):

In addition to the consumption of edible plants - their fresh, dried, preserved, frozen and canned parts and substances - diverse other so called processed or manufactured foods can be made by various combinations and procedures. These may result in, for example, kimchi or sauerkraut - fermented vegetables rich in plant source lacto-bacillus; tempeh - soybeans transformed by mycelium; wheatmeat or seitan - produced by washing away starch and retaining gluten; tofu or soy curd - produced by grinding, boiling, then filtering and coagulating the solids; beet pulp - fermented to grow microbes which concentrate cobalt and make it available as cobalamin or Vitamin B12 or provide a harvest of nutritional yeast; wheat grains - squeezed - with or without heat, using high or low pressure and without or with chemical catalysts - to extract oil from which further concentration can isolate Vitamin E; oat fiber - ground into particles so microscopic as to allow them to emulsify and suspend themselves in water as oatmilk; and so on infinitely as long as there is interest in uncovering nature's secrets and constructing pleasing nutritious foods.

Sep 16th, 2006, 07:54 AM
I am just interested to know about existence of Vitamin B-12 in so many Indian Food Stuffs like Dosa, Idli, Uttapam, Dhokla, Khaman, Jalebi or Bread which are made usually by adding Yeast and they are left for automatic fermentation in them. :confused:

Hi, as you can see, I have merged some threads about B12 made from fermentation, so you'll find some info about B12 and fermentation in the other posts in this thread now.

You asked the question a long time ago, and I guess the reason nobody has replied, is that in order to reply, several tests would have to be made from each of these products under controlled conditions, which probably never has happened.

B12 come from bacteria/microorganisms, and in tests from Jakarta in Indonesia, they found that a bacteria called K. pneumoniae could produce vitamin B12 in tempeh. B12 is different from all other vitamins in that it contains cobalt, it is made from bacteria/microbes, and in a way is complex to synthesize. The B12 found in supplements also needs bacteria to be synthesized (Propionibacterium shermanii and Pseudomonas denitrificans are used).

Since B12 has been found is soil, river water, ocean water, moss, leaves/bark/moss/roots of trees and many other plants, we know that the bacteria needed to synthesize B12 exists in nature, and so does cobalt. The question is where those bacteria exist, and how bioavailable and effective the synthesized B12 is if the conditions needed to produce it exists, how fresh the food is when being eaten and so on. The same questions are also interesting regarding the B12 found in multivitamin supplements, fortified food and animal products too, which all may contain B12 analogues.

One day in the future, when more focus and energy is put into in depth research on B12 in the fermentation process and the role of B12 analogues in food, you'll probably get a more useful an answer than this... :)

Mar 12th, 2007, 08:46 AM

Several varieties of soybeans contained generally less than 1 ng of vitamin B-12 per g. It was found that use of a lactic fermentation typical of tropical conditions during the initial soaking of the soybeans did not influence the vitamin B-12 content of the resulting tempeh. Pure tempeh molds obtained from different sources did not produce vitamin B-12. It was found that the major source of vitamin B-12 in commercial tempeh purchased in Toronto, Canada, was a bacterium that accompanies the mold during fermentation. Reinoculation of the pure bacterium onto dehulled, hydrated, and sterilized soybeans resulted in the production of 148 ng of vitamin B-12 per g. The presence of the mold, along with the bacterium, did not inhibit or enhance production of vitamin B-12. Nutritionally significant amounts of vitamin B-12 were also found in the Indonesian fermented food, ontjom.

Mar 12th, 2007, 08:55 AM

Asians, particularly the Indonesians, have introduced meat-like textures into vegetable substrates. A prime example is Indonesian tempeh in which soybeans are soaked, dehulled, briefly cooked, cooled, inoculated with the mould Rhizopus oligosporus, wrapped in wilted banana or other large leaves, and fermented from 36 to 48 hours. During this time the white mould-mycelium knits the soybean cotyledons into a tight cake that can be sliced thin and deep-fat fried or cut into chunks and used in soups (20 - 22). Tempeh is a major meat substitute in Indonesia, and it is produced daily by small factories in the villages.

Containing nearly 47 per cent protein, it is very nutritious and, in fact, kept thousands of Westerners alive in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps during World War I I. The mould not only introduces texture, but it also solubilizes the proteins and lipids, making them more digestible. It releases a peppery flavour that adds to the nutty flavour of the soybean substrate. The mould doubles the riboflavin content, increases the niacin level by almost seven times, decreases pantothenate slightly, and, unfortunately, decreases thiamine content, but surprisingly vitamin B12 is found in nutritionally significant amounts (23).

One of the problems of vegetarian diets is that vegetable foods generally do not contain significant vitamin B12. It was found that a bacterium sometimes present in the mould is responsible for the vitamin B12 in tempeh (24). If the fermentation is carried out with pure mould, the tempeh does not contain B12. If the bacterium is present, the tempeh will contain as much as 150 mg B12 per g. Thus, this single food provides both protein and vitamin B12 for vegetarians.

There are at least five vegetarian communes in the United States today (for example, The Farm, Summertown, Tennessee) where tempeh has been adopted as the major protein source, replacing meat in the diet. In California, Nebraska, and Canada (Toronto), there are at least six small factories producing tempeh commercially. The acceptance of this Indonesian food technology in the United States and Canada suggests that the technology could also be extended to developing countries, thus improving the diversity and nutritive value of the diets of the poor.

It has already been demonstrated that the tempeh process can be used to introduce texture into other substrates made, not only from soybeans, but from wheat and other cereals as well (25). A bacterium has also been used to raise the content of vitamin B12 in Indian idli, which is made by fermenting a batter of ground soaked rice and black gram dahl with Leuconostoc mesenteroides (26).

There is a similarity between the Miller, Rank, Hovis, MacDougall meat analogue process discussed above and tempeh production In both cases, the texture is derived from mould mycelium, but the former process is sophisticated and relatively costly, while the latter is low-cost technology.

Mar 17th, 2007, 04:48 AM
What about Fermentation process take place in bread?:confused:

Indian Sweet Stuff "Jalebi" It is fermented white flour and batter than deep friend in oil and soaked in hot sugar syrup. Jalebi's batter kept for fermentation for atleast 2-3 days.:)

Manish Jain

Sep 7th, 2007, 08:36 AM
I don't know anything about B12 and the fermentation process in bread, Manish - sorry. But since Indonesian ontjom, Korean kimchi, African palm wine, tempeh from Jakarta (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=253), Indian idli and American fermented black tea (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2106) all contain B12 (if the fermentation process is done right), and since B12 supplements partially are produced by using the fermentation process, it's quite possible that B12 is produced in other process involving fermentation as well.

Now, some people may be skeptical about getting vegan B12 from fermented products (with or without a valid reason - not all fermentation results in B12 production, the result is dependent on the presence of the right natural bacteria), but still - if they choose to eat B12 from supplements instead, they may still eat vegan B12 from fermented plants (with the advantage that it's produced in an controlled environment).

BTW: here's a B12 production plant for sale, if someone is interested!

Sep 7th, 2007, 09:41 AM

Candida utilis has been shown to contain 4.7 pmol of cobalamin per g of wet
cell paste.



VITEX is a pure primary grown nutritional yeast produced in our modern biotechnological plant with one of the largest fermentation capacities in the world. Yeast cells, strain Candida utilis, are grown in a medium, obtained directly from spruce wood, under conditions which permit the highest quality standards.
Vitamin B12: 0,04 mg/kg

0,04 milligrams = 40 mcg, which means that 60 gram torula yeast contains 2,4 mcg B12.

Nov 1st, 2007, 11:54 PM
Here's another article confirming that the B12 found in supplements not only comes from fermentation, the writer suggests that B12 in commercial production is 'entirely' from fermentation:


Vitamin B12 is the generic name for a closely related group of substances of microbial origin. The compounds are octahedral cobalt corrin complexes varying primarily in one axial ligand. Vitamin B12 functions as coenzyme in a number of rearrangement reactions, as well as in the methylation of homocysteine to methionine. A total synthesis of cyanocobalamin has been achieved. Commercial production, however, is entirely by fermentation of species such as Pseudomonas dentrificans.

Dec 19th, 2008, 08:56 PM
fermentation is something the modern lifestyle doesnt have enough of. In tribes, ancient or not, still living in nature, fermentation is a way to store the food, when not having a fridge; fermentation is something our ancestors have been doing for thousands and thousands of years, and our bodies are adapted to it, and need it.
In modern times we use fridges, preservatives, sugar... Why not go back to some of the anciant habits?
I've had had a lot of problems with bad/slow digestion, and people talk about fibers all the time. But i 've been eating loads of fibers the last 15 years...and still problems digesting... but for me, adding fermented food was the thing that really helped my digestion....

Mar 21st, 2010, 11:23 PM
...and do you know some of fermentations that products B12?...and in wich form do they produce it?...'cause i heard that human body can not use all forms of that vitamine...
...going to test my B12 soon...gatta admit that i'm a little bit worry... :O

Mar 22nd, 2010, 01:57 AM
You can take a vegan vitamin if you're worried.

I believe natto has B12? I liked it at first but now it makes me gag... shouldn't have tried eating it without seasoning it.

Mar 22nd, 2010, 07:58 PM
...but i heard that vitamin B12 has active and inactive forms...so...i dont know where the active form (methylcobalamin) is... im very confused... :dizzy:

Mar 22nd, 2010, 08:17 PM
It is confusing. The production of the B12 found in supplements also involves a fermentation process, and both multivitamins and animal products may contain inactive B12 analogues. Plus, it doesn't help much that some people use the term B12 analog both about both active and inactive B12. while others always mean 'inactive' when they write about analogs...

Maybe this thread is interesting for you:
B12 and B12 analogues in multivitamins, animal foods and spirulina (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=317)

Disclaimer: it could also make you more confused. :-)

Apr 14th, 2010, 11:29 AM
...yup...thought i understand SOMETHING...now i understand NOTHING... :rollseyes_ani:
...guess i'll gave to visit my high school chemistryteacher...and go to my collage library (guess the medical school library MUST have something about active B12 :hmm: )...
...hm, one more silly question: what about parsley (wrote on few places that he HAS B12) :surprised_ani:

Mar 11th, 2011, 09:05 AM
one more silly question: what about parsley

The question isn't silly, but I don't know the answer. :)

Anyway, here's a link to a thread on veganfitness.com, called B12 Breaking News: Old fermentation method rediscovered (http://www.veganfitness.net/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=17120&start=0)

Sep 18th, 2012, 11:18 PM
Lactobacillus reuteri CRL1098, a lactic acid bacterium isolated from sourdough, is able to produce cobalamin:

Lactobacillus reuteri CRL1098 produces cobalamin (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12949118) PMID: 12949118

We found that Lactobacillus reuteri CRL1098, a lactic acid bacterium isolated from sourdough, is able to produce cobalamin. The sugar-glycerol cofermentation in vitamin B(12)-free medium showed that this strain was able to reduce glycerol through a well-known cobalamin-dependent reaction with the formation of 1,3-propanediol as a final product. The cell extract of L. reuteri corrected the coenzyme B12 requirement of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis ATCC 7830 and allowed the growth of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (metE cbiB) and Escherichia coli (metE) in minimal medium. Preliminary genetic studies of cobalamin biosynthesis genes from L. reuteri allowed the identification of cob genes which encode the CobA, CbiJ, and CbiK enzymes involved in the cobalamin pathway. The cobamide produced by L. reuteri, isolated in its cyanide form by using reverse-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography, showed a UV-visible spectrum identical to that of standard cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12).

Sep 19th, 2012, 01:30 AM
Nutritional quality of lactic fermented bitter gourd and fenugreek leaves (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9713580). (I'm cross-posting this link since the writers suggest that vitamin B12 was formed in the fenugreek as a result of the fermentation.)