Friday, February 22, 2008

L - cysteine

What is Cysteine/cystine? (E910, E920 and E921)

Also known as l-cystine, our research indicates that the source of cysteine is human hair. Cystine is an amino acid needed by humans, which can be produced by the human body. A very small quantity is used in less than 5% of all bread products. Often the hair of third world women is used.


Dietary sources

Although classified as a non-essential amino acid, in rare cases, cysteine may be essential for infants, the elderly, and individuals with certain metabolic disease or who suffer from malabsorption syndromes. Cysteine can usually be synthesized by the human body under normal physiological conditions if a sufficient quantity of methionine is available. Cysteine is potentially toxic and is catabolized in the gastrointestinal tract and blood plasma. In contrast, cysteine is absorbed during digestion as cystine, which is more stable in the gastrointestinal tract. Cystine travels safely through the GI tract and blood plasma, and is promptly reduced to the two cysteine molecules upon cell entry.

Cysteine is found in most high-protein foods, including:

  • Animal sources: eggs, milk, whey protein, ricotta, cottage cheese, yogurt, pork, sausage meat, chicken, turkey, duck, luncheon meat
  • Vegetarian sources: red peppers, garlic, onions, broccoli, brussel sprouts, oats, granola, wheat germ.

Industrial sources

See also Food safety in China#Soy sauce made from human hair.

At the present time, the cheapest source of material from which food-grade L-cysteine may be purified in high yield is by hydrolysis of human hair. Other sources include feathers and pig bristles. The companies producing cysteine by hydrolysis are located mainly in China. There is some debate as to whether or not consuming L-cysteine derived from human hair constitutes cannibalism. Although many other amino acids were accessible via fermentation for some years, L-cysteine was unavailable until 2001 when German company Wacker Chemie introduced a production route via fermentation (non-human, non-animal origin).

Ingredient: L-CYSTINE (E910, E920 and E921)

How the chemical is regulated: Flavor, Direct food additive; chemical is used as: FLAVOR ENHANCER, FLAVORING AGENT OR ADJUVANT, NUTRIENT SUPPLEMENT, DOUGH STRENGTHENER;


According to the researh by Syed Rasheeduddin Ahmed, 99% of L-Cystine in the US is obtained from HUMAN HAIR. It is used in Pizza crusts, hard rools and crooissants. It is Kosher certified ingredient even if it is from Human hair. It is suggested check the source of L-Cystine even if the product is certified Kosher

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