The L-methionine produced by CJ is based on an intermediate product made from 100% bio-based raw materials such as sugars and glycerol produced from vegetable oils.
Against this backdrop, Arkema and its South Korean partner CheilJedang (CJ) spent several years working on a breakthrough technology: since 2015, at its site in Kerteh, Malaysia, CJ has been producing L-methionine directly using an unrivalled process.
Like other such sites, Kerteh has a unit producing methyl-mercaptan, a sulfur compound needed for all methionine syntheses, of which Arkema is the world’s leading producer. “One of the innovations is in the fermentation process, developed by CJ, which allows an intermediary product to be synthesized from 100% bio-based raw materials such as sugars or glycerin from plant oils,” explains Georges Frémy. The final stage consists in a reaction between the mercaptan and the bio-based intermediary and is a biocatalysis at room temperature in an aqueous medium. The entire process is therefore simpler (with fewer stages) and far less energy intensive than the traditional chemical processes, which rely on reactions at temperatures that are up to forty times higher. The result is bio-based methionine, with a low energy requirement, that is directly produced as L-methionine, which is perfectly adapted to animals.
ARKEMA IS, THROUGH THIS MODEL PARTNERSHIP, MAKING A MAJOR CONTRIBUTION TO THE IMPROVED EFFICIENCY OF METHIONINE.
The Kerteh site went into service in 2015, and was expanded in 2019. The two partners made a considerable new investment in order to increase their production capacity. The product commercialized by CJ is competitive, high-quality and resource-efficient – a perfect response to market expectations, whether from farmers or distributors. Just as with the other producers of methionine which Arkema supplies with methyl-mer-captan, the Group is, through this model partnership, making a major contribution to the improved efficiency of methionine, which constitutes a precious asset in the face of the major food challenges that await in the decades to come.