Biomass-Derived Production of Itaconic Acid as a Building Block in Specialty Polymers.


Institute of Life Sciences, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Calea Mănăştur 3-5, 400372 Cluj-Napoca, Romania. [Email]


Biomass, the only source of renewable organic carbon on Earth, offers an efficient substrate for bio-based organic acid production as an alternative to the leading petrochemical industry based on non-renewable resources. Itaconic acid (IA) is one of the most important organic acids that can be obtained from lignocellulose biomass. IA, a 5-C dicarboxylic acid, is a promising platform chemical with extensive applications; therefore, it is included in the top 12 building block chemicals by the US Department of Energy. Biotechnologically, IA production can take place through fermentation with fungi like Aspergillus terreus and Ustilago maydis strains or with metabolically engineered bacteria like Escherichia coli and Corynebacterium glutamicum. Bio-based IA represents a feasible substitute for petrochemically produced acrylic acid, paints, varnishes, biodegradable polymers, and other different organic compounds. IA and its derivatives, due to their trifunctional structure, support the synthesis of a wide range of innovative polymers through crosslinking, with applications in special hydrogels for water decontamination, targeted drug delivery (especially in cancer treatment), smart nanohydrogels in food applications, coatings, and elastomers. The present review summarizes the latest research regarding major IA production pathways, metabolic engineering procedures, and the synthesis and applications of novel polymeric materials.


Aspergillus terreus,biosynthetic pathways,biotechnology,drug delivery,hydrogels,itaconic acid,polymers,