MAN, other primates and guinea pig are the only mammals that are known to be unable to synthesize L-ascorbic acid; thus they require vitamin C in their diet to prevent scurvy. The rat, a typical species that is independent of a dietary source of the vitamin, synthesizes L-ascorbic acid from D-glucose as follows1–6: D-glucose → D-glucuronolactone → L-gulonolactone → L-ascorbic acid. Recent studies4–6 show that guinea pigs are unable to convert L-gulonolactone to L-ascorbic acid, a step which is catalysed in rats by enzymes present in liver. This communication reports that man and monkey also cannot convert L-gulonolactone to L-ascorbic acid.
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BURNS, J. Missing Step in Man, Monkey and Guinea Pig required for the Biosynthesis of L-Ascorbic Acid. Nature 180, 553 (1957). https://doi.org/10.1038/180553a0
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