Feb. 13, 2012

Ajinomoto Co., Inc.
Toray Industries, Inc.

Ajinomoto and Toray to Conduct Joint Research on Biobased Nylon

February 13, 2012, Tokyo – Ajinomoto Co., Inc. ("Ajinomoto") and Toray Industries, Inc. ("Toray") have entered into an agreement to begin joint research for manufacturing the nylon raw material 1,5-pentanediamine (1,5-PD) from the amino acid lysine produced from plant materials by Ajinomoto using fermentation technology, and commercializing a biobased nylon made from this substance.

Biobased nylon is a type of nylon manufactured by polymerizing chemicals produced from plant materials. The biobased nylon that Ajinomoto and Toray will research and develop is produced from plant materials by decarbonating the amino acid lysine through an enzyme reaction to make 1,5-PD, which Toray then polymerizes with dicarboxylic acid. The amino acid lysine is a core product of the Ajinomoto Group produced using fermentation technology. This biobased nylon fiber made from 1,5-PD is not only sustainable because it is plant-based, but also shows promise for development into highly comfortable clothing. For example, nylon 56 fiber manufactured using 1,5-PD is pleasing to the touch, yet has the same strength and heat resistance as conventional nylon fiber made from the petrochemical derivative hexamethylenediamine. It also absorbs and desorbs moisture nearly as well as cotton.

The two companies have already carried out successful test production of 1,5-PD using Ajinomoto’s feed-use lysine, as well as test production of biobased nylon made by polymerizing 1,5-PD. They plan to further expand the scope of their collaboration to include development of production processes and evaluation of use in textile and plastics applications.

This partnership between Ajinomoto, a leading manufacturer of amino acids, and Toray, a leading manufacturer of nylon, will enable the creation of biobased nylon products that are competitive in terms of quality, environmental protection and cost. Moreover, the companies will deepen their collaboration with a view toward using the membrane-integrated bioprocess being developed by Toray in the production technology for lysine, the raw material for 1,5-PD.

Through its businesses, Ajinomoto is working to contribute to solutions to the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century, namely global sustainability, food resources and human health. In its bioscience and fine chemicals business, Ajinomoto is leveraging core Bio-Fine (bioscience and fine chemicals) technologies to add biomaterials as a new business area in which it will work toward the realization of a low-carbon, sustainable, recycling-oriented society. To accelerate development of new businesses and products, Ajinomoto will continue to actively pursue open innovation through partnerships with other companies and organizations around the world.

Toray’s management policy states that all business strategies must place priority on the global environment in an effort to help realize a sustainable low-carbon society. Under this policy, Toray is expanding its biomass-derived materials business centered on research and development of biomass-derived polymers, including biobased nylon and polylactic acid (PLA). Expanding the biobased polymer business is also an important initiative central to the Green Innovation Business Expansion (GR) Project, which is part of Toray’s new medium-term management program "Project AP-G 2013" launched in April 2011.

Outline of Ajinomoto Co., Inc.

Representative  :  Masatoshi Ito, Representative Director, President & Chief Executive Officer
Location  :  15-1, Kyobashi 1-chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Established  :  December 17, 1925 (founded May 20, 1909)
Net sales  :  JPY 1,207.6 billion (year ended March 31, 2011)
Number of employees  :  3,310 (non-consolidated) (as of March 31, 2011)
Main businesses  :  Manufacture and sale of seasonings, processed foods, amino acids,
pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals

Outline of Toray Industries, Inc.

Representative  :  Akihiro Nikkaku, President
Location  :  1-1, Nihonbashi-Muromachi 2-chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Established  :  January 1926
Net sales  :  JPY1,539.7 billion (year ended March 31, 2011)
Number of employees  :  6,797 (non-consolidated) (as of March 31, 2011)
Main businesses  :  Manufacture and sale of fibers & textiles, plastics & chemicals, IT-related products,
carbon fiber composite materials, environment & engineering,
life science and other products

About Ajinomoto
Ajinomoto is a global manufacturer of high-quality seasonings, processed foods, beverages, amino acids, pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals. For many decades Ajinomoto has contributed to food culture and human health through wide-ranging application of amino acid technologies. Today, the company is becoming increasingly involved with solutions for improved food resources, human health and global sustainability. Founded in 1909 and now operating in 26 countries, Ajinomoto had net sales of JPY 1,207.6 billion (USD 14.2 billion) in fiscal 2010. For more about Ajinomoto (TYO: 2802), visit www.ajinomoto.com.

About Toray Industries
Toray is an integrated chemicals corporate group operating in 23 countries and regions. It fuses nanotechnology into its operations using organic synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry and biochemistry as its core technologies. In addition to the Foundation Businesses of fibers & textiles and plastics & chemicals, Toray likewise promotes the global development of IT-related products, carbon fiber composite materials, pharmaceuticals and medical products, environment & engineering including water treatment and progress in other pivotal business fields.
For more information visit: https://www.toray.com/

Definition of Terms

One of the nine essential amino acids that cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained from food or other sources. Ajinomoto produces lysine with plant materials through fermentation, mainly for use as an additive in livestock feed. Adding lysine efficiently compensates for nutrients that tend to be lacking in feed while contributing to the environment by reducing the excretion of nitrogen, which causes soil and water pollution and generates greenhouse gases.

1,5-pentanediamine (1,5-PD):
A monomer (diamine) with five carbon atoms. In this joint research, 1,5-PD is produced from Ajinomoto’s amino acid L-lysine through a decarbonation reaction and used as a raw material for biobased nylon.

Membrane-integrated bioprocess:
The membrane-integrated bioprocess that Toray is currently developing consists of three processes: a membrane separation process for cellulosic sugars, a membrane-integrated fermentation reactor, and a purification system using a membrane.

The membrane separation process for cellulosic sugars is a technology to remove impurities such as fermentation inhibitors generated as by-products during the hydrolysis of cellulosic biomass. The process enables the recycling of the saccharification enzyme and the efficient concentration of target sugars for production of low-cost, high-quality celluolosic sugars. The membrane-integrated fermentation reactor is a cell-recycling, continuous fermentation reactor based on a highly chemically stable membrane that enables continuous production for longer periods at faster rates than conventional batch fermentation. The purification system using a membrane is an energy-saving technology for removing impurities from fermentation broth and removing water to concentrate fermentative chemical products.