Functions of Cobalt

Cobalt is building block of vitamin B-12. It is essential for fertility and longevity. Cobalt is involved in absorption and metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.

Bacteria in the stomachs of ruminant animals convert cobalt salts into vitamin B12, a compound which can only be produced by bacteria or archaea. A minimal presence of cobalt in soils therefore markedly improves the health of grazing animals, and an uptake of 0.20 mg/kg a day is recommended because they have no other source of vitamin B12.

In the early 20th century, during the development of farming on the North Island Volcanic Plateau of New Zealand, cattle suffered from what was termed “bush sickness”. It was discovered that the volcanic soils lacked the cobalt salts essential for the cattle food chain.

Legumes use Cobalt in fixation of atmospheric Nitrogen. Ensuring that the soil has adequate levels of Cobalt will improve the Nitrogen levels on the soil in long term.

A recommended application of Cobalt Sulfate is 200-800 grams per acre per year.

Symptoms of Cobalt deficiency in animals
Loss of body condition
Muscular wasting

Symptoms of Cobalt Deficiency (LlmFarmVets, 2020)

Cobalt as a chemical element

Cobalt is a chemical element with the symbol Co and atomic number 27.

Cobalt is essential to the metabolism of all animals. It is a key constituent of cobalamin, also known as vitamin B12, the primary biological reservoir of cobalt as an ultratrace element.

In nature, cobalt is frequently associated with nickel. Both are characteristic components of meteoric iron, though cobalt is much less abundant in iron meteorites than nickel. As with nickel, cobalt in meteoric iron alloys may have been well enough protected from oxygen and moisture to remain as the free (but alloyed) metal, though neither element is seen in that form in the ancient terrestrial crust.

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