State of the Art on the Microbial Production of Industrially Relevant Organic Acids
Raffaella Desirè Di Lorenzo, Immacolata Serra, Danilo Porro, Paola Branduardi
The industrial relevance of organic acids is high; because of their chemical properties, they can be used as building blocks as well as single-molecule agents with a huge annual market. Organic acid chemical platforms can derive from fossil sources by petrochemical refining processes, but most of them also represent natural metabolites produced by many cells. They are the products, by-products or co-products of many primary metabolic processes of microbial cells. Thanks to the potential of microbial cell factories and to the development of industrial biotechnology, from the last decades of the previous century, the microbial-based production of these molecules has started to approach the market. This was possible because of a joint effort of microbial biotechnologists and biochemical and process engineers that boosted natural production up to the titer, yield and productivity needed to be industrially competitive. More recently, the possibility to utilize renewable residual biomasses as feedstock not only for biofuels, but also for organic acids production is further augmenting the sustainability of their production, in a logic of circular bioeconomy. In this review, we briefly present the latest updates regarding the production of some industrially relevant organic acids (citric fumaric, itaconic, lactic and succinic acid), discussing the challenges and possible future developments of successful production.