Wacker inaugurates cystine production in Spain


13 Sep 2018 -- Wacker Biosolutions, the life sciences division of the Wacker Group, has begun producing fermentation-generated cystine at its new site in León, Spain. Over the past eighteen months, the division has extensively modernized part of the 800 m³ fermentation capacity acquired there at the end of 2016. 

In addition, it has built a production line for cystine. Capital spending for the site totals some €30 million (US$34.8 million). In the next few months, the plants are to be gradually qualified and ramped up to full capacity. The new site enables Wacker to meet its customers’ rising global demand, according to the company.  

Cystine and cysteine produced from cystine are used in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Wacker currently employs more than 40 people in León.

“With our investment in the León site, we are well equipped to further strengthen our position as the global market and technology leader for fermentation-generated cystine,” says Dr. Gerhard Schmid, head of Wacker Biosolutions, explaining the expansion measures. “The modernized fermentation plants and the new cystine production plant enable us to reliably meet our customers’ growing demand for cysteine and cystine, and to commercialize new fermentation-generated products.” 

Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Christof Bachmair, Senior Manager for Media Relations says: “The main application areas for cystine and cysteine are the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food sectors. They are used, for example, to manufacture flavorings, to make doughs in baked goods easier to process, and they work as a free-radical scavenger in cosmetics products or as an expectorant in cough medicines.” 

“Both cystine and cysteine are globally required products and Spain is not the biggest market. From our new León site which we acquired at the end of 2016, we will also supply customers from other countries and regions,” he notes. 

“As our cysteine is manufactured from purely plant-based and inorganic starting materials, it is entirely vegetarian and meets the rising demand for such vegetarian ingredients. Our production plants in León enable us to reliably meet our customers’ growing demand for cystine and cysteine. For the future, we intend to use part of our fermentation capacities to commercialize new fermentation-generated products,” Bachmair explains.

Wacker is the first company in the world to produce cystine by fermentation in a patented biotech process. Due to the entirely plant-based and inorganic raw materials, Wacker cystine and cysteine are purely vegetarian. This makes them safe for use in food and pharmaceutical products. In 2008, Wacker was awarded the Federation of German Industries (BDI) Environmental Prize for its innovative production of cysteine.

By Elizabeth Green

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

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