Prepared Foods November 29, 2004 enewsletter

Ajinomoto Co. Inc. announced a new enzymatic method to manufacture peptides that have very important physiological functions. The company expects future demands for peptides to expand “remarkably” by using this new manufacturing method.

There are currently many types of manufacturing processes. These conventional synthetic methods require complicated steps for protection and deprotection of a protecting group in the amino acid and produce a high level of impurities and existence of the racemic mixtures. Standard purification procedures are very expensive and become impossible to meet this expanded demand for peptides easily with conventional peptide synthesis methods.

The AminoScience laboratories of Ajinomoto Co. Inc. have discovered a “novel enzymatic method” for the industrial production of alanylglutamine. In this method, the amino acid is esterified, and this ester is enzymatically coupled with another amino acid.

This manufacturing method enables the production of not only dipeptides and oligopeptides, but also peptides including non-native types of amino acid, so this method is highly advantageous, the company claims. Ajinomoto established this industrial production technology and will launch alanylglutamine as the first product in the spring of 2005.

Though alanylglutamine has been expected to be an important product because of its beneficial effect to improve immune function, it was not used in the market because of its expensive price. However, it is expected that the alanylglutamine can be manufactured at a much lower cost by using this new manufacturing method compared with conventional methods, and increased demand of alanylglutamine advances all over the world.

The potential market scale for the alanylglutamine is estimated at about 200 tons in the world.