France-based METabolic EXplorer (METEX) and Roquette announced last week that the companies are now initiating an industrial engineering study on the production of a 100% bio-based L-Methionine, which the companies have been developing for several years.
Methionine is an essential amino acid mainly used in animal feeds. According to METEX, the amino acid is currently made from propylene via a synthetic chemical process. The global methionine market for animal feed is around $2.85bn for 850,000 tonnes last year, METEX reported.
The blog did a little research on this market and it seems major global methionine manufacturers include China National Bluestar, Evonik, Jinzhou Jirong Amino Acid Co., Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, Nippon Soda, Novus, Sumitomo Chemical, Zheijiang Chemicals. For the feed market, Evonik, Nippon, Novus and Sumitomo are the major producers.
According to the press release, Roquette is preparing an analytical and toxicological file for the product to obtain European approval that they hope will be finalized in mid-2012.
By the way, do you know who else is working on bio-methionine?
CJ CheilJedang and Arkema are actually planning to build a bio-methionine plant in Southeast Asia (Malaysia or Thailand). CJ said it has developed a bio-fermentation process to produce L-methionine from plant-based materials. Now whether it’s 100% bio-based, the blog is not sure. Arkema said their bio-methionine will use methyl mercaptan, a sulfur-based intermediate which is a key to the manufacture of methionine. Is methyl mercaptan a bio-based material?
Anyway, Arkema and CJ will the bio-methionine plant will have a capacity of 80,000 ton/year and would come onstream at the end of 2013.