Shape Control or Flocculation Technology for Flaky Crystals

Request Number REQ6370145
Due Date March 30, 2018
Request for Proposal Details
RFP Title
Shape Control or Flocculation Technology for Flaky Crystals
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing a global manufacturer, seeks technologies to spheroidize or flocculate flaky organic crystals. Specifically, approaches by controlling crystal growth and adding flocculants or other agents are welcome. Though the ultimate goal of is to control particle shape and size of branched chain amino acids (BCAA) crystals, we also welcome technologies that have not been applied to BCAA at this point, but have a potential.


The client has worked on improvement of the efficiency of the production process for BCAAs. BCAAs have both hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces, and faster crystal growth on the hydrophilic surface leads to flaky crystal shape. These flaky crystal particles cause a reduction in the productivity of subsequent processes. To realize a highly productive process, the client aims to develop a technology to produce spherical particles by flocculating them or controlling crystal growth.


Although the client has studied a lot, there remains difficulties. For instance, commercially available flocculants such as ferric oxide were examined, which resulted in the breakage of floc due to shear by agitation.


In the meantime, R&D activities to develop flocculation technologies for sludge, wastewater, etc., and those to control particle shape and crystal growth are globally on going in various areas. Therefore, the client has issued this open request to identify potential partner(s) that can jointly address the problem, believing that there are potential technologies to solve this problem.


Key Success Criteria


  • Either of the following effects should be expected:
    • Reduction in the aspect ratio 
      • Target value: Approximately (Current value: 10 or more)
    • Coarsening of the particle size
      • Target value: Approximately 500 μm (Current value: 50–100 μm)
  • Should be potentially applicable to BCAAs
  • If an additive (flocculant, surfactant, etc.) is used:
    • Amount of additive: No particular limit
  • In case of a flocculation technology:
    • The floc should be stable in agitated solution.

Detail of the BCAA solution

  • Crystal to be flocculated or spheroidized
    • Compound: BCAA (valine, leucine, or isoleucine)
    • Crystal size: 50–200 μm
  • Solvent: Water
  • Other components
    • Sugar (1% or less)
    • Proteins, microorganisms, etc. (1-2%)
  • Solid content concentration: 5–10%
  • pH: 5–7
  • Temperature: 35-40ºC


Possible Approaches

Possible Approaches

Anticipated approaches include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Flocculation/granulation
    • Flocculants for wastewater treatment
    • Flocculants for inorganic materials and metals (Al, Ni, etc.)
    • Technologies using ultrasound, electric fields, etc.
  • Crystal growth control
    • Addition of surfactants
    • Addition of solvents
    • Other additives
    • Irradiation of microwaves, etc.
    • Other condition control

Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan

Respondents should submit proposals using the attached Response Template.


The client will review submitted proposals and possibly ask clarifying questions before selecting the most suitable candidates for collaboration. The client will select the best candidate(s) through evaluations. During the selection process, the client may execute non-disclosure agreements (NDA) with selected respondent(s), seek further information disclosure, and discuss specific development targets or potential opportunities.

The client will execute necessary agreement(s) with the selected respondent(s) and move to the advanced development phase. Specifics of any collaboration will be determined through consultation with the concerned parties.


Preferred Collaboration types
  • Joint Development
  • Contract Research
  • Technology Licensing
  • Consulting
  • Supply Agreement
  • To Be Negotiated
Items to be submitted

Responses will use the Proposal Template which is available here and include the following items:


  • Overview of the proposed technology
  • Uniqueness of the technology
  • Principle of the technology
  • Development stage
  • Related achievements
    • Target compound(s)
    • Solvent(s)
    • Other conditions
    • Changes in the aspect ratio and particle size
    • In the case of a flocculation technology: Stability in agitated solution
  • Reasons why the technology is considered applicable to BCAAs
  • Problems anticipated at the time of application to BCAAs and measures to address such problems
  • Conditions for sample testing (amount of sample available, cost, preparation period, agreement conditions, etc.)
  • Past commercialization and future prospects
  • Past achievements (additional information indicating R&D capabilities, such as research papers and patents)
  • Organization overview


Area of Interest
Request Priority