Vitamin C – The first isolation of the basic nutrient takes place in Szeged

The University of Szeged is one of Hungary’s most important universities and is among the most prominent higher education institutions in Central Europe. Among its teachers were Albert Szent-Györgyi, one of the founders of the Faculty of Science, who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937 for his discoveries in connection with Vitamin C.

The central building of the University of Szeged / Image source

He accepted a position at the University of Szeged in 1930. There, Szent-Györgyi and his research fellow Joseph Svirbely found that “hexuronic acid” was actually the thus far unidentified antiscorbutic factor, known as vitamin C. After Walter Norman Haworth had determined the structure of vitamin C, and in honor of its antiscorbutic properties, it was given the formal chemical name of L-ascorbic acid. In some experiments they used paprika as the source for their vitamin C.

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