One of the world's two leading amino acid suppliers (the other being Ajinamoto), the Japanese-owned company supplies all 20 of the common L-amino acids for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical uses. Kyowa Hakko has faced increasing production costs, which in turn are degrading margins. Rising energy and petrochemical costs have also played a role. "Raising prices also safeguards the ongoing investment necessary to keep pace with the growing demand to produce top quality ingredients," said Chikakuni Kotani, president of Kyowa Hakko U.S.A. L-amino acids are usually produced by fermentation, and raw materials include a carbon source (usually glucose from corn starch or sugar beet); bacteria; and solvents for the downstream process. Amino Acids are produced at Kyowa Hakko's four manufacturing plants located in the U.S., Japan, and China. In general, however, Kwoya Hakko's prices are going in the opposite direction to those of Chinese competition. This price pressure leaves Western suppliers setting themselves apart on the basis of quality and supply security.