Main content area

Citric acid and itaconic acid accumulation: variations of the same story?

Karaffa, Levente, Kubicek, Christian P.
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2019 v.103 no.7 pp. 2889-2902
Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus terreus, biochemical pathways, citric acid, fermentation, fungi, genes, transcription (genetics)
Citric acid production by Aspergillus niger and itaconic acid production by Aspergillus terreus are two major examples of technical scale fungal fermentations based on metabolic overflow of primary metabolism. Both organic acids are formed by the same metabolic pathway, but whereas citric acid is the end product in A. niger, A. terreus performs two additional enzymatic steps leading to itaconic acid. Despite of this high similarity, the optimization of the production process and the mechanism and regulation of overflow of these two acids has mostly been investigated independently, thereby ignoring respective knowledge from the other. In this review, we will highlight where the similarities and the real differences of these two processes occur, which involves various aspects of medium composition, metabolic regulation and compartmentation, transcriptional regulation, and gene evolution. These comparative data may facilitate further investigations of citric acid and itaconic acid accumulation and may contribute to improvements in their industrial production.