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Amino Acid Production


Since microbial production of L-glutamic acid was started in 1957 in Japan, various amino acids production with microorganisms has been developed and almost all protein-constitutive amino acids become able to be produced by microbial biotechnology, fermentation, or enzymatic method. This chapter summarizes the microbial biotechnology which was developed and industrialized in Japan. The amino acids include L-alanine, L-cysteine, L-DOPA, L-glutamic acid, D-p-hydroxyphenylglycine, hydroxy-L-proline, L-lysine and L-threonine.


The water extract of a marine algae "kelp" (Laminaria japonica) has been used in a number of Japanese recipes as a kind of soup to flavor cooking. The tasty ("umami" in Japanese) factor in the marine algae was identified as monosodium glutamate by Prof. Kikunae Ikeda in 1908. Soon thereafter, Ajinomoto Co. Ltd. started to produce monosodium glutamate by extraction from wheat protein after hydrolysis with hydrochloric