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Cis and trans isomers of the vitamin menaquinone-7: which one is biologically significant?

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Recently, several studies have indicated that an adequate intake of menaquinone-7 (MK-7) offers numerous health benefits. However, the low availability of MK-7 in the diet necessitates the development of dietary supplements or functional food products to complement natural food sources and meet the daily intake requirements. Like most biological molecules, MK-7 can exist as geometric isomers that can occur in the cis, trans, and cis/trans forms; however, only the all-trans form is biologically significant. MK-7 is traditionally produced through bacterial fermentation, but various synthetic preparations have lately become available. The isomer composition in the final product is influenced by numerous factors, including the methods of production and purification, as well as particular environmental and storage conditions. The MK-7 profile obtained from the various production methods has not yet been elucidated, and the ideal method for the synthesis of the all-trans form of the vitamin is also debatable. Consequently, the quantification of the MK-7 profile of various products is necessary to develop an understanding of the factors that influence the proportion of isomers that are obtained in different preparations. Several possible methods exist for the quantification of MK-7 isomers, and of these, liquid chromatography in conjunction with mass spectrometry techniques appears to be the most promising. Evaluation of the isomer composition is an important consideration, as only the all-trans form sustains biological activity. Furthermore, knowledge of the prominent factors that influence the MK-7 composition may also enable their manipulation to obtain a more favorable MK-7 profile in the final product.

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Correspondence to Aydin Berenjian.

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Lal, N., Berenjian, A. Cis and trans isomers of the vitamin menaquinone-7: which one is biologically significant?. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 104, 2765–2776 (2020).

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