Amino acids are vital organic compounds that play a key role in protein synthesis. They are essential for all living organisms on Earth, including humans, animals, and plants. Different combinations of scientifically known amino acids contribute to the construction of various types of proteins, making them equally important for humans.
Generally, humans obtain the necessary amino acids from food. However, modern lifestyle, unbalanced diets, improper food preparation, and variations in amino acid ratios in food often lead to deficiencies in certain amino acids. In such cases, amino acid manufacturing, a rapidly evolving industry, comes to the rescue by helping consumers replenish the essential substances in their bodies.
The growing demand for amino acids among individuals leading a healthy lifestyle and engaging in sports has driven advancements in technological processes related to the production of these goods. In recent years, manufacturers have increasingly utilized microbial fermentation, chemical synthesis, and enzymatic conversion.
Knowledge and understanding of these technological processes are especially important for entrepreneurs who utilize private label amino acid manufacturing services. This is a type of collaboration between the client and the manufacturing plant, in which the brand owner can delegate amino acid manufacturing to a partner. As a result, the amino acids are created based on the manufacturer’s capabilities, but the products are released under the client’s brand name. This allows for the control of all stages of product creation, significant cost reduction, and time savings.
Amino acids: types and meaning
The importance of amino acids for the human body is difficult to overestimate, as all of them are crucial for the functioning of various organs and systems. The classification of amino acids depends on the criterion by which they are divided.
Depending on the involvement of amino acids in protein synthesis, they are classified as proteinogenic and non-proteinogenic amino acids. Many vital processes directly depend on these two types of substances, such as:
- Protein synthesis for building body tissues
- Production of enzymes and hormones
- Transportation of substances throughout the body via blood
- Functioning of the immune system, and much more.
Proteinogenic amino acids can be further divided into polar and nonpolar; neutral, acidic, or basic. However, one of the most important classifications is the division of amino acids into essential, nonessential, and conditionally essential.
Essential amino acids. The body does not produce them independently, which means that a person can obtain them only from food or special dietary supplements. Since an unbalanced diet can lead to a deficiency of various substances, amino acid manufacturing is mostly focused on those that are essential. Thus, popular on the market are BCAA complexes, which include amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Other essential amino acids include, for example, threonine, lysine, and tryptophan.
Non-essential amino acids. These amino acids can be synthesized by the body independently. Examples of non-essential amino acids are glycine, serine, and alanine. Despite the fact that the body is capable of producing these substances on its own, non-essential amino acids can also be obtained from food.
Conditionally essential amino acids. They can be produced by the body with the help of other amino acids, but in amounts insufficient to prevent a deficiency. Therefore, conditionally essential amino acids are another promising niche for private label amino acid manufacturing. Arginine, histidine, and others belong to this type of amino acids.
Amino acid manufacturing: microbial fermentation
Active utilization of microbial fermentation in amino acid manufacturing began in the second half of the 20th century. Scientists managed to identify super-producing microorganisms for amino acid production. Currently, over half of all products containing pure amino acids are manufactured using microbial fermentation.
This technological process is based on the ability of various microorganisms to synthesize L-amino acids. Unlike some other production methods, microbial fermentation utilizes all the enzymes produced by the producers—microorganisms capable of producing organic substances from inorganic ones.
Here are several examples of bacteria producers commonly used in amino acid manufacturing:
- Brevibacterium, Micrococcus, Corynebacterium — for the production of L-glutamate, L-lysine, L-histidine, L-valine.
- Escherichia coli — for the production of L-proline and L-phenylalanine.
- Corynebacterium sp. — for the production of L-tyrosine.
- Corynebacterium glutamicum—for the production of L-valine.
As a substrate, which is a nutrient medium for bacteria, ethanol, carbohydrate raw materials such as starch hydrolysates, molasses, and cellulose hydrolysates, as well as organic acids like acetic acid, are used in production.
The microbial fermentation method is considered simple due to the universality of the required equipment and a relatively small number of technological processes. However, the concentration of the final product obtained from fermentation is quite low, necessitating an increase in production capacity. Moreover, the microorganisms used in amino acid production are highly sensitive to environmental conditions, requiring special attention to details during the manufacturing process.
Amino acid manufacturing: chemical synthesis
Chemical synthesis is another frequently used technological process in amino acid manufacturing. With its help, a mixture of D or L-isomers of amino acids can be obtained. These isomers can later be separated into optical antipodes. One of the amino acids produced through chemical synthesis is D and L-methionine, although an additional separation stage is not required for its production.
Chemical synthesis of L-lysine and L-threonine is also commonly encountered in production. This process typically occurs in multiple stages. Initially, the synthesis of precursor substances such as cyanic acid, methanethiol, or acrolein takes place.
During the synthesis process, intermediate products are formed, which can be used as preservatives, for example, in cosmetic products. Subsequently, as a result of synthesis, the manufacturer obtains mixtures of amino acid isomers often used as flavor enhancers or feed additives.
If an entrepreneur utilizes private label amino acid manufacturing services, it is necessary to consider that chemical synthesis is carried out using expensive equipment, and aggressive toxins often serve as precursor substances. The entire process takes place at high temperatures with the aid of costly catalysts. Therefore, the services of such production can be relatively expensive.
Amino acid manufacturing: enzymatic conversion
The process of enzymatic conversion differs from previous methods primarily in terms of the starting materials. Its essence lies in the use of microorganisms and enzymes that act on amino acid precursors to obtain the final product.
Currently, this technology is considered one of the most innovative in amino acid manufacturing. Enzymatic conversion allows for the production of even the most specific amino acids with a high level of efficiency. The enzymes used in this technological process are divided into transaminases and aminotransferases.
For example, in the production of L-aspartic acid, ammonium fumarate is used, which is acted upon by the enzyme aspartase. In the production of L-tyrosine, phenol and serine serve as the starting materials. In other words, enzymes can convert one amino acid into another by modifying their amino group.
Currently, the enzymatic conversion process is relatively less common due to its innovativeness and the need for specific equipment. However, in the long term, this production method can play a decisive role in the development of private label amino acid manufacturing as it can reduce raw material costs and provide a pure product in a relatively short time.
Application of amino acids
Although amino acids play a crucial role in any human organism, their application extends far beyond mere dietary supplements. Among the areas that often rely on the use of amino acids, the following can be highlighted:
- Food industry utilizes amino acids, for example, as flavor enhancers, adding them to beverages, canned goods, and sausages. Cysteine helps improve the quality of bread during baking, glutamic acid can be used as a preservative, and glycine as a sweetener. Amino acids are also widely used in the production of dietary supplements and sports nutrition.
- Pharmaceuticals: Valine, glycine, serotonin, asparagine, methionine, and amino acid mixtures such as aminosalicylic acid and glutamic acid are commonly used in the production of medicinal drugs. These medications aid in the treatment of digestive system disorders, respiratory organ diseases, liver issues, and mental health problems.
- Agriculture: Amino acids such as tryptophan, lysine, and threonine are actively used in the agricultural sector. These substances help enrich animal feed. Amino acids are also added to fertilizers to promote plant growth and protect them from harmful insects.
- Cosmetics: Formulas containing amino acids are employed in the creation of creams, peels, shampoos, hair conditioners, and other cosmetic products.
- Other industries: Amino acids are also incorporated into dyes, perfumes, films, detergents, and synthetic fibers like nylon.
Private label amino acid manufacturing is a promising and profitable business area that allows you to bring a high-quality product to the market while saving time and money. However, to create a high-quality amino acid, it is necessary to have an understanding of the technological processes and innovative methods used in product creation.
This not only affects the production cost but also the quality, specifications, and demand for the future product. The most common technological processes are microbial fermentation and chemical synthesis. Enzymatic conversion is a relatively new method of amino acid creation that falls under innovative biotechnology. However, it has tremendous potential in the long run, and within a few years, enzymatic conversion may become the most popular method of amino acid manufacturing.