As global demand for meat rises, Evonik steps up lysine production
Essen – German specialty chemicals supplier Evonik Industries plans to double its output capacity for recombinantly expressed L-lysine, a growth accelerator in animal feed. Production will be scaled up to 280,000 tonnes per year. Evonik is currently planning a two-stage expansion of the plant that it operates jointly with US company Cargill in Nebraska. With the completion of the first stage, additional production capacity will already commence in November of this year. “This investment will further strengthen our market position in the important area of feed additives,” said Evonik Industries CEO Klaus Engel.
The highly competitive market for essential amino acids is largely dominated by low-cost Asian suppliers. Among other products, Evonik offers all four essential amino acids, which are used for feeding pigs and poultry. Three of them are heterologously expressed by microorganisms, including L-lysine. The market is growing due to a rise in global meat consumption, which is forcing manufacturers to produce cost-effectively. Feed additives offer major potential for savings, as they help reduce expensive fish or soy flour costs. When given them, the animals also excrete less nitrogen and consume less water. “We have seen an increased demand for our lysine,” says Engel. The site in Nebraska is a prime example for an efficient biorefinery, as it is run by several companies. Cargill refines sugar from corn, which serves as a basis for Evonik lysine production. Right next door, NatureWorks LLC uses the same raw material to make biopolymers for packaging and textile fibers.