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Fumaric acid production by fermentation


The potential of fumaric acid as a raw material in the polymer industry and the increment of cost of petroleum-based fumaric acid raises interest in fermentation processes for production of this compound from renewable resources. Although the chemical process yields 112% w/w fumaric acid from maleic anhydride and the fermentation process yields only 85% w/w from glucose, the latter raw material is three times cheaper. Besides, the fermentation fixes CO2. Production of fumaric acid by Rhizopus species and the involved metabolic pathways are reviewed. Submerged fermentation systems coupled with product recovery techniques seem to have achieved economically attractive yields and productivities. Future prospects for improvement of fumaric acid production include metabolic engineering approaches to achieve low pH fermentations.

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Correspondence to Adrie J. J. Straathof.

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Open Access This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0), which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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Roa Engel, C.A., Straathof, A.J.J., Zijlmans, T.W. et al. Fumaric acid production by fermentation. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 78, 379–389 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-007-1341-x

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  • Fumaric acid
  • Fermentation
  • Rhizopus species
  • Maleate isomerase
  • Product recovery