Showa Denko

Showa Denko

Infobox Company
company_name = Showa Denko K.K.
company_type = Corporation (tyo|4004)
foundation = 1 June, 1939
location = Tokyo, Japan
key_people = Kyohei Takahashi, President & CEO
industry = CAD/CAM Software []
products = Chemicals, Inorganics, Aluminium, Electronics
revenue =
operating_income =
net_income =
num_employees = 15,134 (2005)
homepage = []

Nihongo|Showa Denko K. K.|昭和電工株式会社|Shōwa Denkō Kabushiki-gaisha is a Japanese chemical engineering firm.


Prior to World War II it was a part of the Mori group of companies as nihongo|"Showa Fertilizer"|昭和肥料|Shōwa Hiryō. It was founded by nihongo|Saburo Suzuki|鈴木三郎助|Suzuki Saburōsuke in the early 1930s, and opened the first ammonium sulfate factory in Japan in April 1931.


Niigata Minamata disease

The company is known for causing the second outbreak of Minamata disease (a type of severe mercury poisoning) in Kanose, currently part of Aga-machi, Niigata Prefecture, through the release of organomercury compounds into the Agano River.

Tryptophan contamination

In the late 1980s Showa Denko K.K. decided to change the method it used to produce tryptophan, from fermentation to the genetic engineering of bacteria. Bacteria were engineered to express certain enzymes at much higher levels than normal, and to express other enzymes not normally present in the original bacteria. Because the company had been producing tryptophan for many years via fermentation methods, when production was switched to genetic engineering, no safety testing was deemed necessary. The new tryptophan was placed on the market, and within a few months it caused the deaths of 37 people and caused 1500 more to be permanently disabled. Unfortunately the new tryptophan product was discovered to contain trace amounts of a toxic dimerisation tryptophan product which caused Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. [cite web|url=|title=Tryptophan Summary|author=John B. Fagan|date=November 1997|accessdate=2006-10-27]


External links

*en icon [ Showa Denko]

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