Sunday, September 1, 2013
Karl August Folkers
Folkers is best remembered for his determination of the structure of vitamin B-12, which is also called cobalamin. Vitamin B-12 is unique among the water soluble B vitamins in that it contains an atom of cobalt. Vitamin B-12 is used in DNA synthesis and regulation and also fatty acid synthesis. It is synthesized by bacteria and archea and must be ingested by higher organisms. In humans lack of vitamin B-12 causes pernicious anemia where red blood cells do not develop properly and lyse easily. With Fern Rathe and Edward Kaczka, Folkers isolated the antibiotic cathomycin in 1955.
Honors won by Folkers include the Perkin Medal in 1960 and the Priestly Medal in 1985. Folkers was elected to the National Academy of Science in 1948.
Folkers died on December 7, 1997.
Olson, Robert E.; "Karl August Folkers (1906-1997)"; Journal of Nutrition (2001)131:2227-2230
Shive, William; "Karl Augus Folkers September 1, 1906-December 7, 1997"; Biographical Memiors: National Academy Press
Karl August Folkers Wikipedia Entry