Lysine is one of the 20 amino acids normally found in proteins . With its 4-aminobutyl side-chain, it is classified as a basic amino acid, along with arginine and histidine . It is an essential amino acid , and the human nutritional requirement is 1¨C1.5 g daily. A deficiency in lysine can result in a deficiency in niacin (which is a B Vitamin). This can cause the disease pellagra . Lysine can also be used as a nutritional supplement to help against herpes .
Lysine is the limiting amino acid in all cereal grains , but is plentiful in all pulses (legumes). Fish are also quite rich in lysine. Plants that contain significant amounts of lysine include:
The concentration of lysine in the products made in Central and Eastern Europe is reportedly lower than
in the lysine monohydrochloride produced in other world regions.
Fermas was established as a joint venture between Degussa AG of Germany and Biotika a.s. of Slovakia
in 1992. Since late 1998, Fermas has been fully owned by Degussa, when Degussa took over Biotika¡¯s
49% state in the joint venture. Degussa stated that it regards Fermas as a long-term manufacturing site
with a highly favorable cost structure. Fermas is now considered one of the primary worldwide amino acid companies. Until late 2000, this plant had annual capacity of 13 thousand metric tons for Biolys? 60.
The active content of Biolys? 60 is minimum 46.8% L-lysine (in the form of a sulfate salt) as a lightbrown
granulate, free flowing with a high bulk density. In autumn 2000, when Degussa established its
joint venture with Cargill (Midwest Lysine LLC) for L-lysine fermentation in Blair, Nebraska, Degussa
decided to diminish Biolys? 60 capacity at Fermas to 5 thousand metric tons and transfer the extra
capacity to L-threonine production instead. With Fermas, which produces both lysine and threonine, and
its methionine operations in the United States and Western Europe, Degussa is the only company
supplying all three major feed additives.
From 1971 to 1992 the Livani Biochemical Plant in Livani, Latvia produced lysine, in the form of
condensed liquid and hydroscopic powder. Its lysine hydrochloride capacity in 1990 was 3 thousand
metric tons per year. The state-owned plant ceased operation in 1992. Four factories were built in former
USSR territories using the same technology with a total capacity of about 30 thousand metric tons per
year employing around 10 thousand workers.
Central and Eastern European consumption of feed-grade lysine in 2001 was estimated at 27 thousand
metric tons. Most demand was covered by imports. Demand is expected to grow an average of 8% per
year through 2006, mainly in the poultry sector. Most of this growth is expected to take place in Poland,
the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia and Romania.
There is only one producer of amino acids in Africa, named S.A. Bioproducts (Pty) Ltd. S.A. Bioproducts was founded in 1993, when AECI Bioproducts was set up as a 60:40 joint venture
between AECI Ltd. and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) to establish the
capability in South Africa for industrial biotechnology.
In late 1995, AECI started up lysine production based on internally developed technology at its R250
million ($68 million) facility at the company¡¯s chemical complex on South Africa¡¯s south coast in
Umbogintwini, Natal state. Original plans called for 12 thousand metric tons per year of production, with
2-3 thousand metric tons to be sold into local markets by Kynoch Feeds, an AECI subsidiary, and the
balance to go to exports, with BASF as the exclusive international distributor. Kynoch Feeds was
acquired by Kemira Agro¡¯s Animal Nutrition in ctober 2002. With production problems plaguing the
plant until mid-1997, it finally achieved its design output of 900 metric tons per month (equal to 10,800
metric tons per year) in July 1998. Then in March 1998, with BASF¡¯s acquisition of Daesang/Sewon¡¯s
lysine business, AECI was forced to develop alternative international distribution arrangements. In 2001,
when AECI sold its shareholding to Zarara Energy Ltd., with the IDC remaining a shareholder, the name
was changed to S.A. Bioproducts (Pty) Ltd.
Currently, S.A. Bioproducts¡¯ lysine is sold by Kynoch Feeds (now Kemira Agro¡¯s Animal Nutrition
business unit) in local markets and by Chr. Oelsen & Co. in Western Europe. In 2000, 6.6 thousand
metric tons of lysine was exported to the European Union. It is estimated that because of production and
distribution difficulties, capacity expansion plans will be halted for the future. The company is
considering the production of other amino acids instead.
With respect to lysine, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. and Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co., Ltd. are major domestic
suppliers. In 1995, both companies stopped lysine production in Japan because of the high manufacturingcost, and shifted their manufacturing plants outside Japan. Thus, there are no production plants for feedgrade
L-lysine in Japan. In 2001, about 10 thousand metric tons of lysine was imported, mainly for feed
additives. In Japan, Yoneyama Yakuhin Kogyo and Tanabe Seiyaku produce D- and/or L-lysine for
nonfeed uses although the production volume is negligible.
Lysine consumption increased in all Japanese market segments over the 1993-2001 period. With respect
to its use for feed additives, higher prices for soybean meal positively influenced lysine consumption. The
decline in lysine prices also affected the feed additive consumption positively. The swine market segment
is the largest, accounting for approximately 60% of lysine consumption, followed by poultry with 35%.
Nonfeed uses, accounting for about 5% of total consumption, include amino acid transfusion products and
nutritional additives for foods.
Over the next five years, lysine consumption is expected to increase although domestic production of
poultry and swine will decrease slightly. The major reasons for this are that supplemental lysine addition
to livestock feeds can reduce nitrogen content in livestock waste and the use of eat/meal/bonemeal for
poultry and swine feeds was banned in 2001 owing to the outbreak of BSE.
Lysine is produced in the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, China and Vietnam. All producers in
Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, China and Thailand expanded their capacities during 1995-2002.
In March 1998, BASF acquired the lysine business of the Republic of Korea¡¯s Daesang Group (formerly
the Sewon Company, Ltd.) for a reported $600 million, including its 70 thousand metric ton-per-year
lysine plant in Kunsan, in the southern part of the country. The production capacity of this facility was
expanded to 100 thousand metric tons during 1998-2001.
The Vietnamese joint venture between a Taiwanese firm and Kyowa Hakko produces lysine, most of
which is distributed by Kyowa Hakko. Kyowa Hakko also established a joint venture, Shanghai Guan
Sheng Yuan Kyowa Amino Acid Co., Ltd., in Shanghai for the manufacture and sale of ten types of
amino acids for medical use. It is unclear at this time whether lysine and methionine are to be among the
ten. Total production capacity is 600-700 metric tons per year. In 2002, Kyowa Hakko announced plans
to expand its annual capacity to 1.8 thousand metric tons within three years.