Improved Production of S-Adenosyl Methionine for Nutraceutical Applications

Life Sciences : Materials and Compounds

Available for licensing


  • Dean Appling, Ph.D. , Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Andrew Hanson, Ph.D. , University of Florida
  • Rhonda Raymond , McMurray University
  • Sanja Roje, Ph.D. , University of Florida

Background/unmet need

A major drawback to the use of SAM as a medicament is its expense: present methods of production rely on the chemical transformation of methionine, which is an expensive starting material. If a more cost effective method of production were realized, this valuable amino acid could be more widely utilized and commercialized.

Invention Description

A new process has been developed which utilizes an engineered strain of yeast that eliminates the need to provide a source of methionine, an expensive nucleic acid, in the production of S-adenosyl methionine (SAM). SAM is an amino acid derivative normally synthesized in the body. It is widely used in Europe as an antidepressant. In young, healthy people, SAM is well distributed throughout the body as a result of its synthesis from methionine by enzymes using ATP. Using this new method results in the overproduction of SAM without the need to supply the host with a source of methionine, since the host can synthesize this amino acid on its own. SAM is then overproduced during a simple fermentation process. SAM is available as an over-the-counter dietary supplement, and has been used in the treatment of depression, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, liver disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and migraine headaches.


  • Low cost method of production
  • Simplified process
  • Greater market share possible
  • More consumers benefit with the widespread production of SAM


    Provides a simple fermentation process for the production of SAM Eliminates the need to supply the costly precursor, methionineProduces only the active stereoisomer of SAM

Market potential/applications

The market for nutraceuticals is over $2 billion and growing at almost 8% per year. These products are widely used throughout Europe for a wide range of ailments. The U.S. market is still looking for more proven nutraceuticals like SAM to attract consumer attention. With the rate-limiting step of production costs reduced by this invention, one could expect strong market penetration.

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype

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