AIST Stories No2

31Another success at AIST!1962Start of development of fructose production technology as a substitute for costly imported sugar.Researcher Yoshiyuki Takasaki isolates isomerase-producing actinomycetesBacteria die when heated to 50°C but enzymes are immobilized on bacterial cells.High concentration isomerized sugar can be produced at low cost at a temperature of 60°C.1965Patent application for glucose isomerase manufacturing method.Commercial-scale production start-up at Sanmatsu Kogyo.1966Technology exported to a US-based company (first patent export by Ministry of International Trade and Industry).Isomerized sugar made rapid advances in the United States during the era when sugar imports from Cuba were disrupted.1977Immobilized enzymes debuted on market (Nagase Biochemical, Ltd.).At this time, leading United States-based beverage manufacturers started to ramp up their use of isomerized sugar.1980Isomerized sugar production in the United States surpasses 3 million tons/year1984Production in Japan exceeds 700,000 tons/year1995Global production passes 8 million tons/yearTo the presentProduction quantities: Japan: 750,000 tons/yr.; the United States: 8.2 million tons/yr.Production values: Japan; Approximately JPY60 billion; the United States: Approximately JPY656 billionDevelopment historyHowever, the role of isomerized sugar itself has not yet come to an end. According to the Agriculture & Livestock Industries Corporation’s Global Starch Product Supply-Demand Forecast (in Japanese), production of isomerized sugar in 2009 was a total of 17.3 million tons. The United States was the leading producer at 7.77 million tons, while North America overall produced 12.38 million tons, Asia 3.37 million tons, and Europe 860,000 tons. In this manner, isomerized sugar continues to be manufactured on a global scale*1. With global sugar production for the 2008/09 harvest year totaling 158 million tons*2, production of isomerized sugar has already grown to more than 10% of sugar production.Glucose isomerase technology uses the power of bacteria to extract the sweetness of fruit from sweet potatoes and corn. This isomerized sugar production technology pioneered by AIST is indispensible in enriching diets throughout the world to this day. Furthermore, this technology evolved from simply playing a role in the fermentation industry (brewing) into a form of enzyme utilization engineering; furthermore, it became a cornerstone in expanding into biotechnology (regenerative medicine, drug creation, etc.), which is a key 21st century technology. *1:‌LMC‌International‌report*2:‌Sugar:‌World‌Production‌Supply‌and‌Distribution‌(USDA)Newspaper reports at the timeThe natural sweetener synthesis technology based on glucose isomerase and tie-ups with foreign companies were big news at the time.▲Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, August 30, 1969▲Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, January 7, 1972▲‌‌Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, September 26, 1970