Bio-produced Propionic Acid: A Review
Propionic acid is a platform chemical, antifungal agent and important chemical intermediate. Current industrial production of propionic acid is mainly through petrochemical processes because the conventional method of the propionic acid fermentation is uneconomical due to low product yield, productivity and product concentration caused by end-product inhibition. The coproduction of acetic and succinic acids in the propionic acid fermentation processes also makes downstream processing more complicated and costly. To the best of our knowledge there are several and recent reviews in the available literature on propionic acid fermentation processes and strain improvement techniques, but only a few on product recovery and purification, i.e. downstreaming. However, to realize a biorefinery, where propionic acid is a key intermediate, complex discussion of up-, and downstreaming is required. Therefore in this review a short overview of the whole bio-based propionic acid production process is presented including recent results of both upstream and downstream area. Thus the biosynthetic pathways, the significant results of native and recombinant producer strains as well as product recovery are discussed.