New reactive extraction systems for separation of bio-succinic acid

Tanja Kurzrock, Dirk Weuster-Botz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Biotechnologically produced succinic acid has the potential to displace maleic acid and its uses and to become an important feedstock for the chemical industry. In addition to optimized production strains and fermentation processes, an efficient separation of succinic acid from the aqueous fermentation broth is indispensable to compete with the current petrochemical production processes. In this context, high molecular weight amines are known to be effective extractants for organic acids. For this reason, as a first step of isolation and purification, the reactive extraction of succinic acid was studied by mixing aqueous succinic acid solutions with 448 different amine-solvent mixtures as extraction agents (mixer-settler studies). The extraction agents consist either of one amine and one solvent (208 reactive extraction systems) or two amines and two solvents (240 reactive extraction systems). Maximum extraction yields of succinic acid from an aqueous solution with 423 mM succinic acid at pH 2.0 were obtained with more than 95% yield with trihexylamine solved in 1-octanol or with dihexylamine and diisooctylamine solved in 1-octanol and 1-hexanol. Applying these optimized reactive extraction systems with Escherichia coli fermentation broth resulted in extraction yields of 78-85% due to the increased ionic strength of the fermentation supernatant and the coextraction of other organic acids (e.g., lactic acid and acetic acid), which represent typical fermentation byproducts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-787
Number of pages9
JournalBioprocess and Biosystems Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Co-extraction
  • Fermentation broth
  • Ionic strength
  • Reactive extraction
  • Succinic acid


Dive into the research topics of 'New reactive extraction systems for separation of bio-succinic acid'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this