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Chemistry faculty publishes study on Vitamin B12

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Media Contact: Elizabeth Gosney | CAS Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-7497 |

Research from Oklahoma State University’s Department of Chemistry was recently published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Dr. Spencer Pitre and his team of researchers published the paper “Vitamin B12-Photocatalyzed Cyclopropanation of Electron-Deficient Alkenes Using Dichloromethane as the Methylene Source” at the end of November.  

“Much of our lab’s research takes inspiration from the world’s best chemist: nature,” Pitre said. “We were able to demonstrate that Vitamin B12 can mediate the formation of radicals starting from methylene chloride — a common, inexpensive, and normally unreactive organic solvent — which were leveraged in a reaction with electron-deficient carbon-carbon double bonds to form cyclopropanes.” 

Angewandte Chemie International Edition is a journal of the German Chemical Society. The journal produces weekly publications and is read by chemists around the world.  

The feeling of having my first research publication in a very high impact journal like Angewandte Chemie is indescribable,” said John Hayford Teye-Kau, a chemistry Ph.D. student and co-author of the paper. “Working in Dr. Pitre's lab has been a very good experience for me so far. Both my knowledge in running photochemical reactions and my confidence to work independently have improved over the period. I've also been exposed to some cool equipment we use in the lab for our photochemistry.” 

The findings of the team’s research could have implications in drug discovery and pharmaceutical development, changing practices that date back to the 1960s.  

“Currently, we are working to extend this chemistry for the activation of chloroform using Vitamin B12, which would lead to the formation of cyclopropanes containing a pendant chlorine atom,” Pitre said. “We are also interested in using our chemistry for the activation of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, which would allow for us to upconvert these undesirable chemicals into functionalized cyclopropanes with potentially meaningful biological activity.” 

Learn more about Pitre’s work and the Department of Chemistry here 

Story By: Erin Weaver, CAS Communications Coordinator |

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