Conventional Methods

L-Aspartic acid is widely used as a food additive as well as an ingredient of infusion solutions and medicines. In addition, a dipeptide, L-aspartyl-L-phenylalanyl methyl ester, is used as a synthetic low-calorie sweetener in many countries. Moreover, studies for production and application of L-aspartic acid derivatives have been carried out by many companies in Europe, America, and Japan because L-aspartic acid is also chemically reactive. L-Aspartic acid derivatives are hoped to function as a kind of biodegradable precursor for environment friendly products (Fig. 1). It is presumed that each of these would be produced at the 1,000-kiloton level in the near future. However, the high price of L-aspartic acid produced using the existing process has been a high hurdle in expansion of its use. Therefore, we tried to develop a novel process to produce L-aspartic acid economically.

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