Amino acids and their derivatives are essential compounds in most fermentation and cell cultivation processes in the area of biotechnology. They have become increasingly important as building blocks for biologically active peptides, i.e. innovative pharmaceuticals. Due to the BSE risk and other problems with raw materials of animal origin, Merck’s starting materials for amino acids are obtained only from plant or synthetic sources. Amino acids for biochemistry are mainly used in research and development, and play a major role in the areas of nutrition, medicine and plant protection.