Last February (2020), we got an update from project partner Carlos Escudero about the SIMBA project activities currently taking place in the laboratories in NIVA (Norway).
At NIVA, the team including Carlos Escudero and Jose Antonio Baz, are developing a method to analyze vitamin B12 in the experiments performed with propionibacterium by project partners in LUKE (Finland). The goal is to develop a fast and sensitive method to track the production of this vitamin whilst being sensitive enough to be able to measure the low B12 levels encountered in the biological materials assessed by LUKE.
To address the analytical challenges, the NIVA team is going to use Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography coupled to High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (UPLC-QqQ). The first challenge faced will be the extraction of the target molecule from the biological matrix. For this purpose, the NIVA team will first try an extraction based in polar solvents and try to minimize the interferences from the matrix using UPLC-QqQ. In order to reduce the work up and enhance the throughput of the method, they will try direct injection of the extract right in the instrument and use the powerful selectivity of the triple quadrupole to detect the vitamin B12. When the full method is developed it will analyze all the experimental set provided by LUKE colleagues.
This work is being carried out as part of Work Package 4 which is studying microbes that can support the production of healthy and nutritious food/feed, and has the goal to find microbial strains that can be used to add key vitamins to plant-based protein sources, like Vitamin B12, which not normally present. Thus, supplementation is very important for vegetarian diets.
We look forward to hearing more as this experiment progresses!