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We typically think of vitamins as essential micronutrients required to keep our bodies in shape. But can they be useful outside the biological environment? The answer is yes, especially for vitamin B12, which represents a rare example of a natural organocobalt compound. This makes it related to synthetic catalysts, thus promoting researchers to explore its catalytic activity.
In this Perspective in ACS Catalysis, studies on the application of vitamin B12 as a catalyst for carbon-carbon bond forming processes that can be used to construct more complex organic molecules have been reviewed. Potential practical applications of vitamin B12 catalysis arise not only from inherent property of this molecule to generate radical building units but also from its sustainable character, solubility in water, and non-toxic character. Adding to it its compatibility with photo- and electrochemical conditions, we are on the right track to devise efficient environmentally benign tools for organic synthesis relying on natural resources.