Gershoff, Stanley N. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:March 2020
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A group of closely related polypyrrole compounds containing trivalent cobalt. Vitamin B12 has a chemical formula of C63H88CoN14O14P (see illustration). It is formed by the polymerization of pyrrole (an organic compound containing a doubly unsaturated five-membered ring in which nitrogen occupies one of the ring positions); hence, it is termed a polypyrrole. Moreover, as vitamin B12 contains cobalt, it is often called cobalamin or cyanocobalamin. The vitamin is a dark-red crystalline compound; in aqueous solution and at room temperature, it is most stable at pH 4–7. See also: Cobalt; Pyrrole; Vitamin
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