Glycine is the smallest of the twenty different amino acids found in proteins. It is colorless and sweet-tasting, in the form of a solid crystal. In history, glycine was first founded in 1820 by Henri Braconnot when he isolated it from gelatin. The word glycine comes from Greek roots and means “sweet tasting.”
Glycine is currently manufactured industrially by treating chloroacetic acid with ammonia. Through this process, about 15 million kg of glycine are produced annually. In the United States, glycine is sold in two grades: United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and technical grade. Out of the two grades, USP is the most common grade and accounts for 80 to 85 percent of the sales on the U.S market.
USP-grade glycine is used for pharmaceutical applications such as injections, while the technical grade of glycine is sold to be used in industrial applications. Typically, technical- grade glycine can be purchased cheaper than USP grade.