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J Dairy Sci. 2009 Sep;92(9):4524-9. doi: 10.3168/jds.2009-2049.

Apparent ruminal synthesis and intestinal disappearance of vitamin B12 and its analogs in dairy cows.

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Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada, Centre de recherche sur le bovin laitier et le porc, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada.


The aim of the project was to calculate the apparent synthesis or destruction of cobalamin (vitamin B(12)) and its analogs in the rumen as well as their apparent intestinal disappearance in dairy cows. Four lactating cows were fed a diet supplemented with cobalt alone (0.76 mg/kg of DM; control) or with cobalt and vitamin B(12) (cyanocobalamin, 500 mg/d; treated). In addition to cobalamin, the only biologically active molecule for the cow, 7 analogs were identified in duodenal and ileal digesta: cobinamide, which lacks the base, ribose, and phosphate groups; and 6 other molecules in which the base, 5,6-dimethylbenzimidazole, is replaced by cresol, 2-CH(3)-adenine, adenine, 2-CH(3)-S-adenine, or 5-OH-benzimidazole, or an unidentified cobamine. Small amounts of cobalamin and cobinamide were detected in the total mixed ration, but apparent synthesis of all forms took place in rumen. During the control period, cobalamin represented 38% of the total amounts of corrinoids produced in rumen. Approximately 11% of the average daily intake of cobalt was used for apparent ruminal synthesis of corrinoids, of which only 4% was incorporated into cobalamin. Only 20% of the supplement of cyanocobalamin was recovered at the duodenal level; cobinamide appeared to be the major product of degradation of supplementary cyanocobalamin in the rumen. During the control and treatment periods, there was an apparent intestinal disappearance of cobalamin and 5-OH-benzimidazole cobamide only; only the apparent intestinal disappearance of cobalamin differed between the 2 periods. Although cobalamin was not the major form synthesized by ruminal microflora and, even if supplementary cyanocobalamin was extensively destroyed by ruminal microflora, based on calculations of apparent intestinal disappearance, cobalamin seems to be the major form absorbed in the small intestine.

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