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A Look at China’s Industrial Fermentation Capabilities

With the development of modern industry, China has successfully established a large-scale fermentation industry system encompassing various sectors. Here are some key sectors within the bio-fermentation industry in China:

  • Amino Acids: China has become a major producer of amino acids, with sodium glutamate being a prominent example. Amino acids are widely used as food additives, feed additives, and in pharmaceuticals. The production of amino acids through fermentation processes has achieved significant scale in China. China's production capacity for lysine, reaching approximately 2,202,000 tons in 2021, represents a significant share of the global production of lysine, which amounted to around 3,038,000 tons. Similarly, the production of sodium glutamate at 2,160,000 tons in China further emphasizes its significant role in the global sodium glutamate market, which totaled 2,980,132 tons. China's large production capacity for sodium glutamate demonstrates its ability to meet both domestic and international market demands. This highlights China's prominent position in the global amino acid market and its substantial contribution to meeting global demand.

  • Organic Acids: China is a major producer of organic acids, with citric acid being a prominent example. Organic acids find applications in various industries, including food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture. Fermentation-based production processes have enabled China to establish a significant presence in the organic acid industry. China's production of citric acid reached approximately 1,382,000 tons, making it a significant contributor to the global production of citric acid. The global production of citric acid in the same year was around 2,190,000 tons. China's production volume highlights its strong position in the global citric acid market.

  • Enzyme Preparations: The enzyme preparation industry in China has seen substantial growth. Enzymes are essential in various industrial processes, including food processing, textile manufacturing, and biofuels production. China has developed expertise in the production of enzyme preparations through fermentation technologies. In 2019, the output of enzyme preparations in China was about 1,500,000 tons, with a compound annual growth rate of about 9.60%. China's enzyme preparation market accounts for about 10% of the global market.

  • Starch Sugar: Starch sugar refers to a series of monosaccharides or oligosaccharides derived from starch as raw material. Starch sugar has become an important green basic raw material. In addition to direct application, it can be further processed into modified starch, sugar alcohol (polyols such as sorbitol, xylitol or erythritol), alcohol, amino acids, organic acids, antibiotics and other commodities that play an irreplaceable role in many fields such as food, medicine, fermentation, chemical industry and materials. At present, the types of starch sugar in China mainly include maltose syrup, maltodextrin, crystalline glucose, crystalline fructose, and fruit grape syrup. With a production volume of 14,940,000 tons in 2021, China's starch sugar production demonstrates substantial growth compared to the previous year, with a significant year-on-year increase of 19.85%. This growth highlights the country's strong capabilities and competitiveness in the starch sugar industry.

  • Yeast: China has a thriving yeast industry, producing both baker's yeast and specialty yeast strains. Yeast is widely used in the food and beverage industry for fermentation processes, such as bread making, brewing, and wine production. China's yeast industry has achieved significant scale and technological advancements. China's production of approximately 420,000 tons of yeast in 2020 indicates its notable presence in the global yeast industry, which amounts to around 1,700,000 tons. This showcases China's significant contribution to meeting the global demand for yeast, with the country accounting for almost a quarter of the total global production.

  • Vitamins: China is the largest producer of vitamins in the world. Among the 13 kinds of common vitamins, 4 kinds of B vitamins are produced entirely in China, while vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B3 and vitamin B2 account for a large proportion of foreign production. In 2021, China's vitamin production will be about 404,000 tons, a year-on-year increase of 3.70%, accounting for 81.80% of global production.

  • Antibiotics: At present, the production process route of antibiotic drugs in China is mainly a bio-fermentation enzymatic synthesis process. China is already the world's largest producer of antibiotics, ranking first in both output and export volume. There are more than 180 varieties of antibiotic raw materials. Production in 2019 is expected to be 142,000 tons. It is estimated that nearly 90% of the main raw materials for the production of antibiotics are made in China.

These sectors, along with other fermentation-based industries, form a large-scale fermentation industrial system in China. The development of this industry system has not only fulfilled domestic demand but has also positioned China as a major player in the global fermentation industry.

Learn more and download our full report on protein fermentation in China at

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