Hydrogen production from organic compounds and water was investigated using powdered semiconductor photocatalysts. The complete decomposition observed for several organic compounds demonstrated that water is involved in the reactions as an oxidizing agent. Photocatalyses of dyes and semiconductors were found to be applicable to amino acid synthesis. The quantum yields of photocatalytic amino acid synthesis using visible light are about 20%-40% in the absence of a metal catalyst such as platinum. Moreover the reactions are highly selective and depend strongly on the type of semiconductor. This method was applied to the asymmetric synthesis of amino acids using asymmetric catalysts. Rather high optical yields of 50% were achieved for the synthesis of L-phenylalanine.