Technological watch

Recent Advances in Biotechnological Itaconic Acid Production, and Application for a Sustainable Approach

Intense research has been conducted to produce environmentally friendly biopolymers obtained from renewable feedstock to substitute fossil-based materials. This is an essential aspect for implementing the circular bioeconomy strategy, expressly declared by the European Commission in 2018 in terms of “repair, reuse, and recycling”. Competent carbon-neutral alternatives are renewable biomass waste for chemical element production, with proficient recyclability properties. Itaconic acid (IA) is a valuable platform chemical integrated into the first 12 building block compounds the achievement of which is feasible from renewable biomass or bio-wastes (agricultural, food by-products, or municipal organic waste) in conformity with the US Department of Energy. IA is primarily obtained through fermentation with Aspergillus terreus, but nowadays several microorganisms are genetically engineered to produce this organic acid in high quantities and on different substrates. Given its trifunctional structure, IA allows the synthesis of various novel biopolymers, such as drug carriers, intelligent food packaging, antimicrobial biopolymers, hydrogels in water treatment and analysis, and superabsorbent polymers binding agents. In addition, IA shows antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor activity. Moreover, this biopolymer retains qualities like environmental effectiveness, biocompatibility, and sustainability. This manuscript aims to address the production of IA from renewable sources to create a sustainable circular economy in the future. Moreover, being an essential monomer in polymer synthesis it possesses a continuous provocation in the biopolymer chemistry domain and technologies, as defined in the present review.

Publication date: 16/10/2021

Author: Bernadette-Em?ke Teleky

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym13203574

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.