AskDefine | Define riboflavin

Dictionary Definition

riboflavin n : a B vitamin that prevents skin lesions and weight loss [syn: vitamin B2, vitamin G, lactoflavin, ovoflavin, hepatoflavin]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Yellow or orange-yellow water-soluble compound, a member of the vitamin B complex, that acts as a growth-promoting factor in humans and other animals.

Extensive Definition

Riboflavin (E101), also known as vitamin B2, is an easily absorbed micronutrient with a key role in maintaining health in animals. It is the central component of the cofactors FAD and FMN, and is therefore required by all flavoproteins. As such, vitamin B2 is required for a wide variety of cellular processes. Like the other B vitamins, it plays a key role in energy metabolism, and is required for the metabolism of fats, ketone bodies, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Milk, cheese, leafy green vegetables, liver, kidneys, legumes such as mature soybeans, yeast, almonds and rock lobsters are good sources of vitamin B2, but exposure to light destroys riboflavin.


Riboflavin is not toxic when taken orally, as its low solubility keeps it from being absorbed in dangerous amounts from the gut . Although toxic doses can be administered by injection, imparting a bright yellow color when in large quantities.

Industrial synthesis

Various biotechnological processes have been developed for industrial scale riboflavin biosynthesis using different microorganisms, including filamentous fungi such as Ashbya gossypii, Candida famata and Candida flaveri as well as the bacteria Corynebacterium ammoniagenes and Bacillus subtilis. The latter organism has been genetically modified to both increase the bacteria's production of riboflavin and to introduce an antibiotic (ampicillin) resistance marker, and is now successfully employed at a commercial scale to produce riboflavin for feed and food fortification purposes. The chemical company BASF has installed a plant in South Korea, which is specialized on riboflavin production using Ashbya gossypii. The concentrations of riboflavin in their modified strain are so high, that the mycelium has a reddish / brownish color and accumulates riboflavin crystals in the vacuoles, which will eventually burst the mycelium.

Riboflavin in food

Riboflavin is yellow or yellow-orange in color and in addition to being used as a food coloring it is also used to fortify some foods. It is used in baby foods, breakfast cereals, pastas, sauces, processed cheese, fruit drinks, vitamin-enriched milk products, some energy drinks, and is widely used in vitamin supplements.
Large quantities of riboflavin are often included in multi-vitamins; often, the dose is far more than a normal human can use in a day. The excess is excreted in the urine, causing the urine to be colored bright yellow within a few hours of ingestion of the vitamin.
It is difficult to incorporate riboflavin into many liquid products because it has poor solubility in water. Hence the requirement for riboflavin-5'-phosphate (E101a), a more expensive but more soluble form of riboflavin.


Riboflavin deficiency

further Ariboflavinosis Riboflavin is continuously excreted in the urine of healthy individuals
Development is underway to use riboflavin to improve the safety of transfused blood by reducing pathogens found in collected blood. Riboflavin attaches itself to the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) in cells, and when light is applied, the nucleic acids are broken, effectively killing those cells. The technology has been shown to be effective for inactivating pathogens in all three major blood components: (platelets, red blood cells, and plasma). It has been shown to inactivate a broad spectrum of pathogens, including known and emerging viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Recently riboflavin has been used in a new treatment to slow or stop the progression of the corneal disorder keratoconus. This is called corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL). In corneal crosslinking, riboflavin drops are applied to the patient’s corneal surface. Once the riboflavin has penetrated through the cornea, Ultraviolet A light therapy is applied. This induces collagen crosslinking, which increases the tensile strength of the cornea. The treatment has been shown in several studies to stabilise keratoconus.

Industrial Uses

Because riboflavin is fluorescent under UV light, dilute solutions (0.015-0.025% w/w) are often used to detect leaks or to demonstrate cleanability in an industrial system such a chemical blend tank or bioreactor. (See the ASME BPE section on Testing and Inspection for additional details.)

Good sources

Riboflavin is found naturally in asparagus, bananas, okra, chard, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, meat, eggs and fish, each of which contain at least 0.1 mg of the vitamin per 3-10.5 oz (85-300 g) serving.


External links

  • Mirasol PRT includes a brief description of riboflavin as an agent to inactivate pathogens.
riboflavin in Arabic: فيتامين بي2
riboflavin in Bosnian: Vitamin B2
riboflavin in Catalan: Riboflavina
riboflavin in Czech: Riboflavin
riboflavin in German: Riboflavin
riboflavin in Spanish: Vitamina B2
riboflavin in Esperanto: Riboflavino
riboflavin in Basque: B2 bitamina
riboflavin in Faroese: Riboflavin
riboflavin in French: Vitamine B2
riboflavin in Galician: Vitamina B2
riboflavin in Korean: 비타민 B2
riboflavin in Croatian: Vitamin B2
riboflavin in Italian: Riboflavina
riboflavin in Hebrew: ויטמין B2
riboflavin in Luxembourgish: Riboflavin
riboflavin in Lithuanian: Riboflavinas
riboflavin in Hungarian: Riboflavin
riboflavin in Macedonian: Рибофлавин
riboflavin in Malay (macrolanguage): Vitamin B2
riboflavin in Dutch: Riboflavine
riboflavin in Japanese: リボフラビン
riboflavin in Norwegian: Riboflavin
riboflavin in Polish: Witamina B2
riboflavin in Portuguese: Riboflavina
riboflavin in Russian: Рибофлавин
riboflavin in Albanian: Vitamina B2
riboflavin in Simple English: Riboflavin
riboflavin in Slovak: Riboflavín
riboflavin in Serbian: Витамин Б2
riboflavin in Serbo-Croatian: Vitamin B2
riboflavin in Sundanese: Riboflavin
riboflavin in Finnish: Riboflaviini
riboflavin in Swedish: Riboflavin
riboflavin in Turkish: Riboflavin
riboflavin in Ukrainian: Рибофлавін
riboflavin in Chinese: 核黄素

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adermin, aneurin, antiberi-beri factor, ascorbic acid, axerophthol, biotin, carotene, cholecalciferol, choline, cobalamin, cryptoxanthin, cyanocobalamin, ergocalciferol, folic acid, hepatoflavin, inositol, lactoflavin, menadione, naphthoquinone, niacin, nicotinic acid, ovoflavin, pyridoxine, tocopherol, vitamin, vitamin B, vitamin Bc, vitamin D, vitamin G, vitamin H, vitamin K, vitamin M
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