Fermentation process of Glutamic acid

Fermentation process of Glutamic acid

Fermentation process of Glutamic acid

Fermentation process of Glutamic acid

Session Objectives

At the end of the session, student will be able to

• Explain the fermentation process of Glutamic acid

History of Glutamic acid

• The history of the first amino acid production dates back to 1908 when Dr. K. Ikeda, a chemist in Japan, isolated glutamic acid from kelp, a marine alga, after acid hydrolysis and fractionation.

• He also discovered that glutamic acid, after neutralization with castic soda, developed an entirely new, delicious taste.

• This was the birth of the use of monosodium glutamate (MSG) as a flavour-enhancing compound.

• The breakthrough in the production of MSG was the isolation of a specific soil-inhabiting gram-positive bacterium, Corynebacterium glutamicum, by Dr. S. Ukada and Dr. S. Kinoshita in 1957.

• The successful commercialization of monosodium glutamate (MSG) with this bacterium provided a big boost for amino acid production and later with other bacteria like E. coli as well.

Glutamic acid

• It is an α-amino acid that is used by almost all living beings in the biosynthesis of proteins.

• It is non-essential in humans, meaning the body can synthesize it. It is also an excitatory neurotransmitter, in fact the most abundant one, in the vertebrate nervous system.

• It serves as the precursor for the synthesis of the inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in GABA-ergic neurons.

Glutamic acid

Uses of Glutamic acid

• It helps the nerve cells in the brain to send and receive information from other cells.

• It may be involved in learning and memory.

• Glutamic acid is widely used in the production of monosodium glutamate (MSG) which is commonly known as the ‘seasoning salt’.

• Monosodium glutamate is condiment and flavour-enhancing agent

• In hair loss and as anti-ageing agent

Production of Glutamic acid

• Glutamic acid commercial production by microbial fermentation provides 90% of world’s total demand, and remaining 10% is met through chemical methods.

Organism – Corynebacterium glutamicum

• Fermentors as large as 500 m3

• Media composition carbohydrate (glucose, molasses, sucrose, etc.), peptone, inorganic salts and biotin.

• Biotin concentration in the fermentation medium has a significant influence on the yield of glutamic acid

• Duration – 2-4 days

• The broth contains glutamic acid in the form of its ammonium salt.


• The bacterial cells are separated and the broth is passed through a basic anion exchange resin.

• Glutamic acid anions get bound to the resin and ammonia is released.

• This ammonia can be recovered via distillation and reused in the fermentation.

• Elution is performed with NaOH to directly form monosodium glutamate (MSG) in the solution and to regenerate the basic anion exchanger.

• From the elute, MSG may be crystallized directly followed by further conditioning steps like decolourization and serving to yield a food-grade quality of MSG.

• α-ketoglutaric acid serves as the precursor of glutamic acid and the conversion of the α- ketoglutaric acid to glutamic acid occurs in presence of enzyme glutamic acid dehydrogenase.

• It has been found that if penicillin is added in the medium, the glutamic acid production can be increased manifold.


  1. Is glutamic acid the same as monosodium glutamate (MSG)? No, glutamic acid is an amino acid, while monosodium glutamate is a sodium salt of glutamic acid commonly used as a flavor enhancer.
  2. Are there natural sources of glutamic acid? Yes, glutamic acid is naturally found in various foods, such as tomatoes, cheese, and soybeans.
  3. Does glutamic acid only enhance savory flavors? While glutamic acid is known for enhancing savory flavors, it can also contribute to overall taste enhancement.
  4. Is monosodium glutamate (MSG) safe to consume? Yes, extensive scientific research suggests that moderate consumption of MSG is safe for the majority of people.
  5. Can glutamic acid be produced without fermentation? While fermentation is a common method, researchers are exploring alternative ways to produce glutamic acid sustainably.

Also, Visit: Biotechnology Notes

B Pharma Notes

Enzyme Notes

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