Past Events 


Annual General Meeting of Members 2014

The 9th annual general meeting of ICAAS was held in downtown New York City on February 28. The participating member companies approved a new budget and decided on the 2014 -2015 action plan that includes ambitious scientific projects as well as specific regulatory and quality steps around the world.


Amino Acid Symposium
A one-day International Amino Acid Symposium was organized on 19 November 2013 in Shanghai (China). The Symposium was sponsored by the Chinese Biotech Fermentation Industry Association (CBFIA) and ICAAS.


The local coordinators, mainly Real Nutriceuticals Ltd., did excellent work in promoting the event, which was attended by more than 200 people from the biotech and food industries; and was well covered by the Chinese media, including two TV channels.

The Symposium was opened by the Chairman of CBFIA (Mr. Shi) who highlighted the current situation of the amino acid industry in China. He emphasized that in the year 2012, amino acid production in China reached 3.3 million tons (10% yearly increase), with more than 90% represented by sodium glutamate and lysine. Although Mr. Shi pointed out other successes, he also mentioned the need to increase the production of a broader range of amino acids, and the need to solve a lack of R&D leadership, equipment modernization and insufficient internationalization.  Following this, Dr. Rogers introduced ICAAS and Dr. Smriga highlighted the ICAAS efforts related to specifications and the safety of amino acid use by humans.

Dr. Rogers, Chairman of ICAAS                               Mr Wang Fucai, CEO of Real Neurocenticals     Professor Chen, Tianjing University   


Mr. Wang (Chairman of Real Nutriceuticals Ltd.) described the problems of amino acid marketing in China and Prof. Chen (Tianjin University of Science & Technology) underlined the challenges represented by a lack of standards for amino acids in China as well as ongoing updates to the Chinese Food Law which are affecting amino acid use.
Highlights of the event were the academic presentations authored by ICAAS Advisors, Profs. Elango (Canada) and Morris (USA), as well as Dr. Jian (China Amino Acid Technical Service Centre); all focused on amino acid efficacy/safety or production technologies.
The Symposium was successful in attracting Chinese media, including state TV and national newspapers and thus contributed to promoting quality amino acids in a dynamic and large market. Appropriately, the event was crowned by publically introducing a book by Mr. Wang (Chairman of Real Nutriceuticals Ltd.) and Dr. Wu (Former Secretary, National Pharmaceutical Industry Association) and entitled “Amino Acids – Root of Health”.
ICAAS members and local organizers                                       Mr Shi Weichen, Chairman of CBFIA                                   Professor Elango, ICAAS invitee

On October 6, ICAAS organized a half-day Symposium on aging and amino acid metabolism in Galveston (Texas). The Symposium attended by almost100 experts from all around the world was a major component of the 13th International Congress on Amino Acids, Peptides and Proteins.

Two scientific advisors to ICAAS, Prof. Luc Cynober (Paris) and Prof. Dennis Bier (Houston), ably chaired the 4-hour-long series of presentations and discussions. Prof. Naomi Fukagawa (Burlington, VT) opened the morning by reviewing the current scientific literature on both the efficacy and safety of amino acid supplementation to elderly humans. She reminded the audience how little we knew about the need for individual amino acids and about possible age-related changes of those needs. Prof. Elena Volpi (A&M University, TX) outlined her own studies with both amino acids and proteins and touched upon the subject of appropriate timing of amino acid intake throughout the day. Dr. Morley (St. Louis, MO) reviewed the current definitions of the field and the problem of objective endpoints, and Dr. Wayne Campbell (West Lafayette, IN) talked in some detail on the lack of data on both upper limits and requirements in elderly and frail individuals. The session was closed by Prof. Phil Atherton (Nottingham, UK) with an outline of his ongoing studies with essential amino acids. Prof. Atherton captured the attention of the audience by illustrating comparisons of amino acid and protein efficiency in maintaining muscle mass in elderly humans, which indicated that amino acids might be a cheaper, more metabolically appropriate and equally effective substitute to whole protein. Final discussion pointed to the lack of knowledge on non-muscle effects of amino acids in elderly, for example on cognition or immune system maintenance, and it pointed ICAAS towards it future research efforts in this important area.
Dr. Atherton, Nottingham University  Dr. Volpi, A&M University,              Dr. Cynober, Morris and Fernstrom    Venue
UK                                                 Galveston, US                               during the final panel discussion

On February 28, the 2013 Annual General Meeting of ICAAS was organized in the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel (Germany). The ICAAS President, CEO, Secretariat as well as sixteen representatives representing the member companies discussed the activity report for the previous year and plans for 2013. Among others, it was agreed to organize a Symposium during the 13th International Congress on Amino Acids, Peptides and Proteins (Galveston, TX, October 6, 2013) and further engage the Chinese Biotech Fermentation Industry Association (Beijing, China) in a cooperative effort to promote safe use of quality amino acids in People’s Republic of China. Discussion was mostly devoted to the ongoing scientific work and future plans.
The annual meeting was concluded by a presentation by Dr. Van Den Eede (European Commission) on the regulatory framework for genetically modified organisms, and by an official dinner.


The 14th Amino Acid Seminar in Japan, 1 June 2012

On June 1, Amino Acids Seminar was held at Tokyo International Forum and over thirty participants, ICAAS members or academic researchers, were welcomed by the secretariat of ICAAS Japan.  Prof. Kimoto, Okayama Prefectural University and Dr. Miyagi, Kanagawa Cancer Center Research Institute, gave lectures about their research on Amino Acid.

In the beginning, Prof. Kimoto focused on the metabolism of methyl arginine. She explained that in the past it was thought that methylated amino acids were not metabolized and were directly excluded from the body. Her studies, however, identified that methyl arginine was mainly metabolized in the kidney and influenced NO production in the blood. Furthermore, she also demonstrated that asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) might be the risk factor for atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Thereafter, Dr. Miyagi presented the biology of amino acids in cancer patients. He suggested that the alternation of a single amino acid is very small but combined index, which is calculated from concentration of several amino acids, can discriminate between cancer patients and healthy people.


ICAAS General Assembly and Board meeting, 2 March 2012
On the occasion of the 2012 annual meeting (Tokyo, March 2); Prof. Katsumi Shibata (The University of Shiga Prefecture, Japan) and Prof. Hisanori Kato (The University of Tokyo, Japan) spoke to ICAAS members and other invitees about their research on upper limits for tryptophan and leucine. Both speakers emphasized that the studied amino acids are nutritionally essential and therefore must be ingested in daily diet.
In respect to upper limits; Dr. Shibata tested several doses of tryptophan in health females and measured a broad scale of tryptophan metabolites. Based on the saturation of the urinary excretion of 3-hydrokykynureniene he, for the first time, proposed a metabolic limit for supplemental use of tryptophan in foods and dietary supplements.
Dr. Kato first emphasized that the adverse effects of excessive amino acid intake depend on dietary protein levels. Thereafter, he outlined rodent studies with supplemental leucine which were conducted by making use of modern experimental techniques such as transcriptomics and metabolomics. Prof. Kato concluded that a gene-marker panel indicated dietary leucine supplementation of 2% (w/w) as the NOAEL dose in low protein (6%) condition in male rats. He also underlined that integrated “omics” analysis is a powerful tool for evaluating the effect of a large intake of a single amino acid.
Dr Kato                                                         Dr Shibata 

STOA hosted symposium: "The Changing Face of Risk Governance: Moving from Precaution to Smarter Regulation?"
29 September 2011 from 09:30 to 11:30, European Parliament, Strasbourg, France

Risk governance has changed remarkably over the last 100 years or so and continues to evolve form a purely reactive process based on demonstrated, significant levels of harms, to processes which attempt to counter future harm by making the risk governance more precautionary in nature.
However, the current EU regulation tendency is to move from precaution towards better or smarter regulation as part of the regulatory impact assessment programme.  The reform of comitology (new article 291) and the inter-institutional agreement have changed the dynamic and the regulatory interplay between the EU institutions;
This workshop includes contributions from STOA and the JURI and ENVI committees of the European Parliament, as well as from the European Commission and external experts on risk governance.
Event programme
Presentation: "Science Advice: Improving Regulatory Decisions through Targeted Research", Dr Rogers, ICAAS President

8th AAAW       
10 - 11 November 2011, Washington DC, USA 
The eighth in a series of Amino Acid Assessment Workshops (AAAWs) was organized in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Georgetown (Washington DC, USA) on November 10 and 11, 2011. Sixty-five academic, government and industry experts from 11 countries attended the meeting. The Workshop was designed to continue a dialogue among experts in amino acid nutrition, metabolism, cell and molecular biology, toxicology and regulation/policy with the objective of establishing a framework for assessing and predicting the consequences of differing levels of leucine and tryptophan intake(s) in humans under various conditions. This year’s Day 1 morning session was organized and co-sponsored with the International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation (ILSI RF) and focused on the ILSI RF approach to establishing upper limits for nutrients. Four speakers outlined the recent approaches to estimating upper limits for impurities and nutrients.
The remaining sessions during Day 1 and Day 2 focused on the safety of leucine and tryptophan. The presentations and discussions highlighted the outcome of ICAAS-sponsored research projects on both amino acids and underlined how the available data may be used to determine the upper level of the safe range of intake. In respect to leucine, the main speakers (Drs. Paul Pencharz from the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada and Dr. Hisanori Kato from University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan) attempted to draw lessons from their research in rodents and humans. The acute study by Dr. Pencharz’s group was the first to directly estimate the safe upper limit of leucine intake in humans and raised concerns that intakes greater than 550 mg•kg-1•d-1 or ~39g/d may constitute a risk to health.
The tryptophan session was mainly focused on a literature review (by Dr. Ball from Univ. Alberta, Canada and Dr. Fernstrom from Uni. Pittsburgh, USA). The speakers explained that the upper limit of tryptophan catabolism may be a possible marker for the intake above which increasing intake increases the risk of adverse effects. There do not appear to be any published data on the upper limits to tryptophan oxidation. With various health benefits in mind, people had been using tryptophan supplements at doses up to 15 grams/day (200 mg/kg/day for a 70 kg individual), with typical doses of 5-8 g/day (70-100 mg/kg/day). The duration of the efficacy studies has been from 10-28 days (occasionally longer). Of interest in the present context, side effects, where reported, have generally been mild, or absent. The final speaker, Dr. Shibata (Shiga Pref. University, Japan), however, showed in rodent experiments that a tentative NOAEL ≥ 2,000 mg/kg body weight and LOAEL ≤ 5,000 mg/kg body weight may exist and that "the urinary excretory ratio of anthranilic acid/kynurenic acid" is potentially the most appropriate surrogate breakpoint index to predict the UL for tryptophan. This study is currently being followed by a human experiment with healthy female subjects. The Proceedings of the 8th AAAW will be published during 2012 as a supplement to the ”Journal of Nutrition” and the ICAAS members hope that the proceedings will be of assistance to both academicians and regulators who will be concerned with ULs for amino acids. ICAAS is predicated on providing the scientific base which should underpin any regulatory action in this field. The results reported during this workshop make this ambition concrete and will transform future debates on ULs for amino acids. 

9-13 May 2011, Quebec, Canada
The 39th meeting of the Codex Committee on Food Labeling (CCFL) was organized in Quebec City (Canada) on May 9-13. Delegates from almost 100 member countries and dozens of observer NGOs participated in the meeting. The Committee was dealing with several key issues related to food labeling world-wide, including the labeling of foods derived from modern biotechnology. 
In this specific area, the Committee advanced a compromise statement on labeling of foods derived from modern biotechnology to Codex the Alimentarius Commission (CAC) for an adoption at step 5.8. In addition, major discussion was focused on sodium/salt labeling and nutrient and comparative claims. A WG created last year proposed an extensive list of conditions, which declared that “no-added salt” will be allowed only in foods which contain no added sodium salts, no ingredients that contain sodium salts (i.e., soy sauce, pickles) and two other conditions. For comparative claims, a threshold of a 25% decrease of content of the ingredient that is on the claim was preserved.   


17 December 2010, Tokyo, Japan
On December 17, the Japanese chapter of ICAAS organized in Tokyo a 3-hour-long scientific seminar devoted to selected amino acids. Fifty participants were welcomed by the secretary of ICAAS Japan (Mr. Kobayashi), and thereafter attentively listened to a lecture on tryptophan metabolism and higher brain function, given by Professor Hiroshi Funakoshi from the Osaka University, Graduate School of Medicine.
Professor Funakoshi concentrated mainly on the role of the tryptophan metabolite, tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO); the key enzyme in tryptophan metabolism in the brain. Recent studies indicate that TDO accelerates neurogenesis and emotional control.
Thereafter, Professor Toshio Hayashi from Nagoya University, School of Medicine described the recent research on effects of citrulline and arginine in arteriosclerosis using both rabbit and transgenic mouse models he developed a hypothesis that the positive effects of both citrulline and arginine in animal models of arteriosclerosis may be related to nitric oxide production. Both presentations were followed by lively discussion and a small social function.


     Prof. Hayashi                            Final discussion                      Audience

      (Nagoya University,                    moderated by

      School of Medicine)                   Profs. Endo and
      during his presentation                 Kadowaki (left)