Aspartic acid is an alpha amino acid with its carboxylate anion and salts of aspartic acid known as aspartate. Aspartic acid, when combined with glutamic acid is referred as an acidic amino acid. Two forms of enantiomers of aspartic acid are available in the industry: L-aspartic acid, which is directly incorporated into proteins, and D-aspartic acid, which is limited in nature. Most chemical synthesis tend to produce both form of enantiomers “DL-aspartic acid”, also known as racemic mixture, as compared to enzymatic synthesis which would produce one or the other. As Aspartic acid does not come under essential amino acids, it can be synthesized from central metabolic pathway intermediates in humans. It is usually found in vegetable sources such as oat flakes and asparagus, animal sources such as oysters and sausage meat, and dietary supplements as salts or aspartic acid itself.
The global market has been witnessing noticeable growth owing to growth from its end-user industries. Growing consumption of meat has significantly contributed towards the growth of aspartic acid market. However, one of aspartic acid forms, L-aspartic acid has been facing pricing pressures as the market is highly intensive for sweeteners, which also serves as one of the primary applications of the product. Due to this, U.S. based manufacturer Solutia Inc. shut down the production of L-aspartic acid at its Missouri site in December 2003, referring global overcapacity as the primary factor behind its exit from the market. Key manufacturers have entered into several collaborations and agreements with other companies for the marketing of new products as well as garnering a larger share in the market.
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Large scale companies such as Royal DSM standing in the challenging L-aspartic acid market are leveraging their production advantages to remain a leading player in the industry. As competitive pressures heighten, the company is touting its reliable raw material supply and experience across all applications of the product in order to grow its business. Moreover, the company has sustained in the high pricing of raw materials situation on account of its raw material advantage. The company serves as a backward integrated player, which has made it relatively competitive as pricing pressure impacts the market. DSM also manufactures maleic anhydride, which is used to produce fumaric acid, the key raw material for L-aspartic acid.
Growing demand for meat is anticipated to one of the key driving factors for animal feed thereby leading towards the growth for the aspartic acid market. However, price and supply fluctuations of raw materials are expected to slow down the growth of the market. Owing to volatility in the supply of raw materials coupled with adverse weather conditions, raw materials are experiencing a surge in their prices, due to which manufacturers are looking for more economical raw materials.
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Promising applications such as the production of biodegradable, water-soluble specialty polymers polyaspartic acid (PAA) and polyaspartate derivatives for industrial applications are expected to provide new opportunities for the growth of the market. Large scale companies such as Royal DSM serves as a supplier for Donlar Corporation, based in Illinois, which has been using L-aspartic acid as a feedstock for its PAA production.
Ajinomoto Co. Inc., Anaspec, Inc., ChemPep Inc., Iris BiotechGmbH, PepTech Corporation and Royal DSM are some of the key manufacturers of aspartic acid dominating the market.