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By 1930, there remained no doubt that “water soluble B” was a complex mixture of several essential nutrients. Thiamine, the anti-beriberi vitamin, was easily distinguished from the rest of the B-complex by its rapid inactivation by heat. Teasing out the rest of the B vitamins would prove much more difficult. Workers around the world used a variety of diets to induce deficiencies in mice, rats, rabbits, pigeons, monkeys, dogs, and various other species, and then attempted to cure their animals with factors that had been isolated by diverse chemical techniques. In contrast with the sanitized straight-line version of science that students usually are taught, real-life science takes time; more than a decade was spent sorting out just six of the B vitamins. As each factor was isolated in chemically pure form, it could be tested in the animal models.
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