Biotechnological production of succinic acid: current state and perspectives



Succinic acid has multiple practical applications (e.g. synthesis of 1,4-butanediol, tetrahydrofuran, gamma-butyrolactone, and as a monomer of some biodegradable polymers). Bio-based succinic acid is a potential substitute for current petrochemical production. Facing a shortage of crude oil supply and sharply rising oil prices, biological production of succinic acid from abundant and available biomass has become a topic of worldwide interest. Although great progress has been made in recent decades, much needs to be developed further in order to achieve economic viability. This paper reviews developments in technology and updates research progress of biosuccinate production, including pathways, micro-organisms, culture conditions, as well as integrated production with other high-value-added products. Finally, strategies are proposed for successful commercialization of fermentative succinic acid production. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd