Synthesis of Caprolactam from Lysine

Executive Summary

Caprolactam is used in important polymer products such as the polyamide Nylon 6. Most Caprolactam is produced from petroleum based feedstocks and there is a desire for a more sustainable route for making the monomer. MSU researchers have developed a technology for synthesizing epsilon-caprolactam from L-lysine with yields up to 75% overall. Since L-lysine can be made from plant derived D-glucose by microbial synthesis the technology provides for a  bio-based alternative route to making Caprolactam. 


Description of the Technology

This invention is a process for synthesizing Caprolactam by first heating a salt of lysine in an alcohol solvent without catalyst to make alpha-amino-epsilon-caprolactam followed by deamination to yield Caprolactam. Temperatures range from 99oC to about 201oC. Yields are up to 70%. Also included are methods for producing nylon 6 using the Caprolactam produced by the above described process. 



  • High Caprolactam monomer yield
  • Non petroleum route for monomer synthesis



  • Nylon 6
  • Fibers
  • Pharmaceutical products


Patent Status

US 7,399,855


Licensing Rights

Full US licensing rights available



Dr. John Frost




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Jon Debling
Technology Manager
Michigan State University
John Frost