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The Department has carried out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment process and has opened to allow research work to take place. To ensure the safety of our staff, a range of measures to reduce building occupancy and allow strict social distancing have been introduced, including increased cleaning and hygiene regimes. We are currently not accepting visitors so please continue to contact us by email until further notice.

Department of Plant Sciences


Algae (red) and bacteria (blue) living togetherAll life needs vitamins - some were needed by the first life on earth. Vitamins provide cofactors that many enzymes need to work.

Humans need vitamins for a healthy life - we can get this from eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Mineral supplements One vitamin not made by plants is vitamin B12 (cobalamin), which many algae contain in high levels, but they need an external supply like humans!

Bacteria to the rescue Algae rely on bacteria in their growth media to provide vitamin B12.

With a little help from my friends... This association or "symbiosis" was found in our laboratories, and shows how we rely on both algae and bacteria for vitamins.