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Open Access Open Badges Research

Bio-oil based biorefinery strategy for the production of succinic acid

Caixia Wang12, Anders Thygesen34, Yilan Liu12, Qiang Li1, Maohua Yang1, Dan Dang25, Ze Wang5, Yinhua Wan1, Weigang Lin5* and Jianmin Xing1*

Author Affiliations

1 National Key Laboratory of Biochemical Engineering, Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P. O. Box 353, No. 1 Zhongguancun North Second Street, Beijing 100190, P.R. China

2 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, R.P. China

3 Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, DK-2800, Denmark

4 Sino-Danish Center for Education and Research, Niels Jensensvej 2, DK-8000, Aarhus C, Denmark

5 State Key Laboratory of Multiple Complex Systems, Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 1 Zhongguancun North Second Street, P. O. Box 353, , Beijing 100190, P.R. China

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Biotechnology for Biofuels 2013, 6:74  doi:10.1186/1754-6834-6-74

Published: 8 May 2013



Succinic acid is one of the key platform chemicals which can be produced via biotechnology process instead of petrochemical process. Biomass derived bio-oil have been investigated intensively as an alternative of diesel and gasoline fuels. Bio-oil could be fractionized into organic phase and aqueous phase parts. The organic phase bio-oil can be easily upgraded to transport fuel. The aqueous phase bio-oil (AP-bio-oil) is of low value. There is no report for its usage or upgrading via biological methods. In this paper, the use of AP-bio-oil for the production of succinic acid was investigated.


The transgenic E. coli strain could grow in modified M9 medium containing 20 v/v% AP-bio-oil with an increase in OD from 0.25 to 1.09. And 0.38 g/L succinic acid was produced. With the presence of 4 g/L glucose in the medium, succinic acid concentration increased from 1.4 to 2.4 g/L by addition of 20 v/v% AP-bio-oil. When enzymatic hydrolysate of corn stover was used as carbon source, 10.3 g/L succinic acid was produced. The obtained succinic acid concentration increased to 11.5 g/L when 12.5 v/v% AP-bio-oil was added. However, it decreased to 8 g/L when 50 v/v% AP-bio-oil was added. GC-MS analysis revealed that some low molecular carbon compounds in the AP-bio-oil were utilized by E. coli.


The results indicate that AP-bio-oil can be used by E. coli for cell growth and succinic acid production.