student profile: Mr Tom Tarento


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Bio-production of vitamin K1 for human and animal health

Supervisors: Fariba DEHGHANI , John KAVANAGH

Thesis abstract:

In humans, vitamin K is essential for the activity of at least 15 proteins that regulate diverse biochemical processes. Vitamin K has been traditionally known for its role in the blood coagulation cascade, however it has critical importance in the maintenance of bone, preventing arterial hardening, neuroprotection, and modulating inflammation. Domestic animals (e.g. pigs, chickens and dogs) share many of the chronic diseases associated with low vitamin K intake in humans. Boosting the vitamin K content of processed human and animal diets may mitigate or eliminate these diseases.

The chemical synthesis of various K vitamers has been widely researched since the 1930s. Production of vitamin K is also possible using microorganisms. Research into the bio-synthesis of vitamin K1 has been largely neglected in favor of vitamin K2, however we believe it deserves a fresh look for a three compelling reasons. Firstly, Vitamin K1 makes up at least two-thirds of the vitamin K in healthy diets, whereas vitamin K2 makes up as little as 10%. Secondly, most of the available literature on the health benefits of vitamin K refers to vitamin K1. Thirdly, vitamin K activity in pharmaceuticals, supplements and fortified foods is overwhelmingly provided by the chemically synthesized vitamin K1. There is a clear need to identify sustainable and cost-effective methods for production of vitamin K1.

Selected publications

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Conferences

  • Tarento, T., Talbot, A., Regtop, H., Biffin, R., Kavanagh, J., Dehghani, F., Valtchev, P. (2016). Comparison of K vitamers and a vitamin K analog for potential anti-inflammatory therapies. European Symposium on Biochemical Engineering Sciences (ESBES) 2016, Dublin.

2016

  • Tarento, T., Talbot, A., Regtop, H., Biffin, R., Kavanagh, J., Dehghani, F., Valtchev, P. (2016). Comparison of K vitamers and a vitamin K analog for potential anti-inflammatory therapies. European Symposium on Biochemical Engineering Sciences (ESBES) 2016, Dublin.

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