Itaconic Acid: A Promising and Sustainable Platform Chemical?
Due to the increasing demand and focus for sustainable chemicals and fuels that are independent from fossil resources, itaconic acid gained interest and recognized for market position as a potential bio-based platform chemical. Itaconic acid can be produced via a chemical pathway or a biotechnological pathway, the more effective production way is the latter one, which is currently conducted in industrial scale production. In order to replace fossil-based chemicals, the efficiency of the current production that is mainly operated by using Aspergillus terreus has to be improved to achieve the economically feasible process. The recent progress in understanding the biosynthesis pathway, finding new raw materials and microbes as well as applying a more effective downstream process, facilitated the optimization of existing processes and resulted in reduction of production cost. However, there is still need for further optimization to achieve higher final concentrations and to use a broader range of low cost sustainable raw materials. Nowadays, the largest industrial producers of itaconic acid are located in China and the USA. If the production costs can be reduced and the downstream value chain for itaconic acid can be expanded, the market could be grow in the future.
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