Sodium Methyl Mercaptide (SMM), also known as sodium methanethiolate, is the sodium salt of methane mercaptide. It is commercially available as a 21% solution of water. Methyl mercaptan is an extremely flammable gas and is stored under pressure. Sodium methyl mercaptide (SMM) in its 21% aqueous solution is a corrosive liquid with pH value greater than 10. It is highly flammable in liquid as well as vapor state with very low flash point of 29 degrees Celsius. Methyl mercaptide gas is highly toxic in case it is inhaled. Additionally, repeated short term exposures of high concentrations of sodium methyl mercaptide (SMM) vapor may cause methemoglobinemia or acute hemolytic anemia in exposed individuals. Low level exposures to vapors of methyl mercaptide and sodium methyl mercaptide (SMM) may cause eye and respiratory irritation, central nervous system (CNS) effects, including dizziness, headache, nausea and loss of coordination. Sodium methyl mercaptide (SMM) liquid may cause skin burns, and serious, irreversible effects to the eyes to the extent of blindness. Sodium methyl mercaptide (SMM) ingestion causes burns to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Low level exposures to vapors of methyl mercaptan and sodium methyl mercaptide may cause eye and respiratory irritation, central nervous system (CNS) effects, including dizziness, headache, nausea and loss of coordination. Sodium methyl mercaptide (SMM) is highly toxic to the aquatic life; however, it does not pose a risk for bioaccumulation as it is readily biodegradable.
Sodium methyl mercaptide (SMM) is employed as a chemical intermediate for intermediates, modifiers and additives in the manufacturing of agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals, health care products, solvents and biocides. The most significant use of sodium methyl mercaptide is in the production of DL-methionine, an important dietary amino acid supplement for animal feed. Sodium methyl mercaptide is primarily used in agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. Production of DL-methionine is the single largest end-use for Sodium methyl mercaptide (SMM) and has been driving the market. Furthermore, rising disposable income and changing lifestyle of the global population is causing a shift from high carbohydrate diet to high protein diet. This has lead to an increase in meat consumption across the world. Rising meat demand is fueling the demand for animal feed which further converts into demand for DL-methionine and eventually sodium methyl mercaptide (SMM).
In terms of geography, the rapidly expanding methionine market in the Asia Pacific is anticipated to fuel the demand for sodium methyl mercaptide (SMM). Rapid growth in the urban populations and their purchase power parity (PPP), especially in the high growth nations such as China, India and other South East Asian countries are expected to be the major demand markets for meat. This turns into demand for animal feed and eventually methionine and sodium methyl mercaptide (SMM). Furthermore, high growth in pharmaceutical industry in Asia is expected to support sodium methyl mercaptide (SMM) demand over the forecast period. In North America and Europe, the strict regulations for the use of hazardous chemicals keep the market in check with slow growth. However, volume demand for methionine is large attributed to the high meat consumption especially in the U.S. Rest of the World, although small in size, is expected to witness high growth especially in the emerging economies of Brazil, Argentina and South Africa. Brazil is set to host two world scale events; FIFA World Cup in 2014 and Summer Olympics in 2016. These events attract a large size of international tourists and meat demand is expected to rise substantially within the timelines of these events.
Some of the players in the sodium methyl mercaptide (SMM) market include Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP, TCI Chemicals and XengFing Chemicals among others.
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