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Biotechnology of succinic acid production and markets for derived industrial products

Zeikus, J.G., Jain, M.K., Elankovan, P.
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 1999 v.51 no.5 pp. 545-552
Actinobacillus succinogenes, adipic acid, animals, biodegradability, biotechnology, carbon dioxide, detergents, drugs, electrodialysis, esters, fermentation, glucose, greenhouse gases, industry, ingredients, markets, plant growth, plastics, rumen, solvents, succinic acid, surfactants, tetrahydrofuran
Succinic acid, derived from fermentation of agricultural carbohydrates, has a specialty chemical market in industries producing food and pharmaceutical products, surfactants and detergents, green solvents and biodegradable plastics, and ingredients to stimulate animal and plant growth. As a carbon-intermediate chemical, fermentation-derived succinate has the potential to supply over 2.7 x 10(8) kg industrial products/year including: 1,4-butanediol, tetrahydrofuran, gamma-bu- tyrolactone, adipic acid, n-methylpyrrolidone and linear aliphatic esters. Succinate yields as high as 110 g/l have been achieved from glucose by the newly discovered rumen organism Actinobacillus succinogenes. Succinate fermentation is a novel process because the greenhouse gas CO2 is fixed into succinate during glucose fermentation. New developments in end-product recovery technology, including water-splitting electrodialysis and liquid/liquid extraction have lowered the cost of succinic acid production to U.S. $0.55/kg at the 75000 tonne/year level and to $2.20/kg at the 5000 tonne/year level. Research directions aimed at further improving the succinate fermentation economics are discussed.