Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 51, Issue 5, pp 545–552 | Cite as

Biotechnology of succinic acid production and markets for derived industrial products

  • J. G. Zeikus
  • M. K. Jain
  • P. Elankovan
MINI-REVIEW

Abstract

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 × 108 kg industrial products/year including: 1,4-butanediol, tetrahydrofuran, γ-butyrolactone, 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 75 000 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.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. G. Zeikus
    • 1
  • M. K. Jain
    • 1
  • P. Elankovan
    • 1
  1. 1.MBI International, 3900 Collins Road, Lansing, MI 48910, USA Tel.: +1-517-337-3181 Fax: +1-517-337-2122US

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