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J Med Assoc Thai. 1990 Mar;73(3):152-6.

The source and content of vitamin B12 in the tempehs.

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Department of Tropical Radioisotopes, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Vitamin B12 contents were determined on 10 commercial tempeh samples purchased from various markets in Jakarta, Indonesia. A relatively high vitamin B12 content was found, i.e., 19 ng/g (ranges from 1.8 to 41.4 ng/g). As soybeans contain no vitamin B12, the amount of vitamin in the tempeh must therefore be derived from the other sources during the fermentation process. The tempeh prepared in the laboratory by inoculation of the commercial starter into the sterile soybean contained a much higher amount of vitamin B12, 127 ng/g (ranges from 122 to 136 ng/g). Pure mold and a single species of bacteria were isolated from the starter and commercial tempehs. Pure mold did not produce vitamin B12 in the sterile broth, soybean and medium used for vitamin B12 production. Only the isolated bacteria, identified as K. pneumoniae, could produce vitamin B12 in those substrates. The presence of mold did not significantly enhance or inhibit the vitamin B12 production by K. pneumoniae. It was, therefore, concluded that K. pneumoniae, the bacteria contaminated during the process of tempeh production, was responsible for the vitamin B12 production.

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