Microbes in Production of Commodity Chemicals

Ethanol, Acrylamide, Citric Acid, Adipic Acid, 1, 2-Propanediol and Penicillin
  • Sanjai Saxena


Commodity chemicals are inexpensive, have larger demands and are produced and sold in bulk. They generally are intermediates involved in the syntheses of high end products (Table 7.1). Initially the chemical industry was dependent on nonrenewable resources for virtually all commodity chemicals. The cost of the feedstocks for commodity chemicals is directly associated with the cost of the petroleum and hence represents 50–75 % of the manufacturing cost of the commodity chemicals. However, the enhanced cost of the petroleum and natural gas resources as well as considering their possible exhaustion in the future due to continuous industrial demand newer alternatives are being explored. One of the major technologies being explored by the industries in the USA, Europe and Japan is conversion of biomass into commodity chemicals using microbial interventions. Biomass generally comprises of crop and forest product wastes and municipal and agricultural wastes. Technologically it is possible to produce all the commodity chemicals from biomass feedstocks like starch and cellulose.


Citric Acid Adipic Acid Pressure Swing Adsorption Butyl Acetate Citric Acid Production 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Selected Reading

  1. Asano Y, Tani Y, Yamada H (1980) A new enzyme “nitrile hydratase” which degrades acetonitrile in combination with amidase. Agric Biol Chem 44:2251–2252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cooney CL (1983) Prospects for chemicals and fuels production by fermentation. Basic biology of new developments in biotechnology. Plenum Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Draths KM, Frost JW (1994) Environmentally compatible synthesis of adipic acid from D-glucose. J Am Chem Soc 116:399–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Elander RP (2003) Industrial production of β-lactam antibiotics. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 61:385–392CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Enebo L (1954) Studies in cellulose decomposition by an anaerobic thermophilic bacterium and two associated non-cellulolytic species. Viktor Pettersons Bokindustrie Akuebolag, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  6. Karaffa L, Kubicek CP (2003) Aspergillus niger citric acid accumulation: do we understand this well working black box? Appl Microb Biotechnol 61:189–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Nagasawa T, Yamada H (1995) Microbial production of commodity chemicals. Pure Appl Chem 67(7):1241–1256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Saxena RK, Pinki A, Saurabh S, Jasmine I, Lata A (2010) Microbial production and application of 1, 2-propanediol. Ind J Microb 50(1):2–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Soccol CR, Vandenberghe LPS, Rodrigues C, Pandey A (2006) New perspectives for citric acid production and application. Food Technol Biotechnol 44(2):141–149Google Scholar
  10. Watanabe I (1987) Acrylamide production method using immobilized nitrilase containing microbial cells. Meth Enzymol 136:523–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sanjai Saxena
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyThapar UniversityPatialaIndia

Personalised recommendations