Shikimic acid

Shikimic acid is a compound discovered from the fruit of the Japanese star anise tree in Japan. It is used as a raw material in the manufacture of the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu. Shikimic acid has diverse pharmacological effects and is expected to have a wide range of applications in the field of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and functional food ingredients.
We have established a bioprocess for the highly efficient production of shikimic acid from plant materials, and are aiming to expand its use to a variety of those applications.

Overview of Shikimic Acid

Shikimic acid is a cyclic hydroxy acid that is a common precursor of aromatic compounds produced in plants and microorganisms and is known as a raw material for producing the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu.

Shikimic acid is a naturally occurring compound with a variety of pharmacological effects such as anti-thrombotic, anti-inflammatory, whitening, hair-growth, and bactericidal properties. These effects give it a wide range of applications in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and functional food material fields.
Shikimic acid also has three chiral carbons in its molecule, making it useful as a synthetic raw material for various bioactive substances.
Shikimic acid is conventionally obtained from the fruits of Chinese star anise (illicium verum). However, it has problems with low yield and unstable supply.

We have succeeded in developing the shikimic acid-overproducing strain of Corynebacterium glutamicum retaining world's highest shikimic acid production capacity by strengthening and modifying the intrinsic metabolic pathway of this bacterium. We have established a bioprocess technology for the high-yield production of shikimic acid from renewable plant materials utilizing developed bacterium strain.
We are working on further technological improvements of this process with the aim of commercializing various applications for shikimic acid.


Pharmaceuticals and functional foods
  • Raw materials for anti-influenza drugs
  • Antiplatelet aggregation (anti-thrombotic) agents
  • Analgesics, antidepressants, and anxiolytics
  • Anti-inflammatory agents (Inhibition of NF-kB signaling)
  • Antibacterial drugs
  • Inhibition of fat absorption
  • Immune response regulatory function
  • Antihypertensive action
  • Whitening agents (inhibits melanin production)
  • Wrinkle-improving cosmetics
  • Hair growth products
  • Synthetic raw materials for bioactive substances
  • Antioxidants
  • Easily degradable pesticides
  • Biochemical reagents

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