Biotechnology Letters

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 635–645 | Cite as

Current advances in biological production of propionic acid

  • Ismail Eş
  • Amin Mousavi KhaneghahEmail author
  • Seyed Mohammad Bagher Hashemi
  • Mohamed Koubaa


Propionic acid and its derivatives are considered “Generally Recognized As Safe” food additives and are generally used as an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory agent, herbicide, and artificial flavor in diverse industrial applications. It is produced via biological pathways using Propionibacterium and some anaerobic bacteria. However, its commercial chemical synthesis from the petroleum-based feedstock is the conventional production process bit results in some environmental issues. Novel biological approaches using microorganisms and renewable biomass have attracted considerable recent attention due to economic advantages as well as great adaptation with the green technology. This review provides a comprehensive overview of important biotechnological aspects of propionic acid production using recent technologies such as employment of co-culture, genetic and metabolic engineering, immobilization technique and efficient bioreactor systems.


Bioreactor Immobilization Metabolic engineering Microbial production Propionic acid 



I. Es thanks the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) for the scholarship of (Grant No. 2015/14468-0). A. Mousavi Khaneghah thanks the support of CNPq-TWAS Postgraduate Fellowship (Grant #3240274290).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors confirm that this article contents no conflicts or declaration of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Material and Bioprocess Engineering, Faculty of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Food Science, Faculty of Food EngineeringUniversity of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Food Science and Technology, College of AgricultureFasa UniversityFasaIran
  4. 4.Sorbonne Universités, Université de Technologie de Compiègne, Laboratoire Transformations Intégrées de la Matière Renouvelable (UTC/ESCOMEA 4297 TIMR), Centre de Recherche de RoyallieuCompiègne CedexFrance

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