Published: December 2002
Amino acids are the building blocks for protein and essential to all living organisms. They are used as food additives, feed additives and in pharmaceuticals.
The amino acid L-glutamic acid, the starting material for the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) is produced at a capacity of nearly 3 billion lb/yr (1,360,000 t/yr).
Another amino acid produced in large volume is methionine. The global consumption of amino acid is 880 million lb/yr or (400,000 t/yr). The market for this compound is satisfied by two distinct products, solid D,L-methionine (DLM), its hydroxy analogue, 2-hydroxy 4-(methylthio)butanoic acid (HMBA) a liquid. Other large volume amino acids include L-lysine with a global capacity of 1.5 billion lb/yr (70,000 t/yr) and L-threonine 66 million lb/yr (30,000t/yr)
Growth in the feed additives market has been spurred by several factors. One is the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) " mad cow disease" Measures to contain the disease has resulted in a ban on the use of animal derived protein sources by the EU in December of 2000 (106A279). In addition European producers are under increasing environmental pressure to reduce the nitrogen level in wastes. The substitution of amino acids for more complex protein sources can reduce discharge by 20-25%.
This report covers the production of D,L-methionine(DLM) and its hydroxy analogue (HMBA), L-threonine, L-glutamic acid and its sodium salt monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Processes for L-lysine production has been covered in the following PEP Review 97-8 Lysine-sulfate by fermentation, and PEP Review 97-9, Lysine-HCL by Fermentation with Recovery by Ion-exchange, and in PEP Report 188B, Bioseparation Processes, 2002.
This report will be of interest producers of chemicals that are required for methionine production i.e. acrolein, methyl mercaptan and hydrogen cyanide, suppliers of glucose for fermentation and to manufacturers of the amino acids.