Integrated process development of a reactive extraction concept for itaconic acid and application to a real fermentation broth

Jannick Gorden, Elena Geiser, Nick Wierckx, Lars M. Blank, Tim Zeiner, Christoph Brandenbusch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Itaconic acid (IA) has a high potential to be used as a bio-based platform chemical and its biocatalytic production via fermentation has significantly improved within the last decade. Additionally downstream processing using reactive extraction (RE) was described, potentially enabling a more efficient sustainable bioprocess producing IA. The bottleneck to overcome is the connection of up- and downstream processing, caused by lack of biocompatibility of the RE systems and direct application to fermentation broth. Within this study, a biocompatible RE system for IA is defined (pH dependency, extraction mechanism) and used for direct application to a fermentation broth. By optimizing the biocatalyst, the production medium, and the extraction system in an integrated approach, it was possible to define critical parameters that enabled a tuning of the overall bioprocess. With an extraction yield of YIA = 0.80 ± 0.03, IA could be produced as sole carboxylic acid (b IA ,0 aq = 0.490 mol/kgaq) using a RE system consisting of ethyl oleate as organic solvent and tri-n-octylamine as extractant (bT-C8 org = 0.6 mol/kgorg). This work is a proof of concept and demonstrates that by joint consideration of up- and downstream processing, optimized bioprocesses can be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-16
JournalEngineering in Life Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2017


  • Biocatalysis
  • Downstream processing
  • Itaconic acid
  • Reactive extraction
  • Ustilago maydis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering

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