Project code: TI-AT-08-60421
Contract period: 01.05.2013
Purpose of research: Applied research
The project objective is the development of an efficient process for the obtention of itaconic acid from low-lignin agricultural residues such as citrus processing waste, chaff and glycerol as well as an upgrading of itaconic acid. Itaconic acid is among the most interesting candidates to replace petroleum based monomers in order to synthesize new types of polyesters.
Therefore, citrus processing waste and chaff will be processed by a combination of enzymatic, chemical and physical processes to obtain carbohydrate substrates for subsequent fermentation. Novel enzymes will be developed for the disintegration of cellulose, hemicelluloses and pectin. As a complementary substrate raw glycerol from biodiesel processing is also considered.
Microorganisms most suitable for itaconic acid production using the above mentioned substrates will be screened. Optimization of fermentation with free and immobilized cells will be carried out. Simultaneous saccharification and fermentation process (SSF) will be evaluated and optimized. Studies regarding suitable purification methods and catalytic upgrade to new bio-based monomers and polymers will also be conducted.