Recent advances and perspectives on production of value-added organic acids through metabolic engineering

Huan Liu, Yuhan Jin, Renwei Zhang, Yuchen Ning, Yue Yu, Peng Xu, Li Deng*, Fang Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Organic acids are important consumable materials with a wide range of applications in the food, biopolymer and chemical industries. The global consumer organic acids market is estimated to increase to $36.86 billion by 2026. Conventionally, organic acids are produced from the chemical catalysis process with petrochemicals as raw materials, which posts severe environmental concerns and conflicts with our sustainable development goals. Most of the commonly used organic acids can be produced from various organisms. As a state-of-the-art technology, large-scale fermentative production of important organic acids with genetically-modified microbes has become an alternative to the chemical route to meet the market demand. Despite the fact that bio-based organic acid production from renewable cheap feedstock provides a viable solution, low productivity has impeded their industrial-scale application. With our deeper understanding of strain genetics, physiology and the availability of strain engineering tools, new technologies including synthetic biology, various metabolic engineering strategies, omics-based system biology tools, and high throughput screening methods are gradually established to bridge our knowledge gap. And they were further applied to modify the cellular reaction networks of potential microbial hosts and improve the strain performance, which facilitated the commercialization of consumable organic acids. Here we present the recent advances of metabolic engineering strategies to improve the production of important organic acids including fumaric acid, citric acid, itaconic acid, adipic acid, muconic acid, and we also discuss the current challenges and future perspectives on how we can develop a cost-efficient, green and sustainable process to produce these important chemicals from low-cost feedstocks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108076
JournalBiotechnology Advances
Early online date1 Dec 2022
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Metabolic engineering
  • Fumaric acid
  • Citric acid
  • Itaconic acid
  • Adipic acid
  • Muconic acid


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