The new plant, which will be located at the firm’s Ludwigshafen site in Germany, is due to go on stream in 2012.
L-Menthol is an aroma chemical produced on the basis of citral. It can be used in any food application where a fresh mint flavour is needed, particularly in products such as chewing gum and confectionery mints. It is also used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications as a flavour or as a cooling agent, for example in creams for itchy skin or sunburn.
Application levels for the ingredient range from traces to several percent, depending on the product, said BASF.
"BASF developed and patented the L-menthol production method itself. It enables us to supply an extremely pure product of superior quality," said Gabriel Tanbourgi, head of the Care Chemicals division.
The firm said the quality and purity or the ingredient has been confirmed via “analytical and olfactory tests”.
BASF would not disclose the size of its new plant or its capacity, but said the “facility is a world-scale plant and will significantly exceed the current largest synthetic L-menthol plant”. The new plant will result in the creation of another 35 jobs.
BASF said this is the first time it is supplying L-Menthol, and it expects to start supplying markets world-wide by 2012.