Ustilago rabenhorstiana - An alternative natural itaconic acid producer
Itaconic acid is an industrial produced chemical by the sensitive filamentous fungus Aspergillus terreus and can replace petrochemical-based monomers for polymer industry. To produce itaconic acid with alternative renewable substrates, such as lignocellulosic based hydrolysates, a robust microorganism is needed due to varying compositions and impurities. Itaconic acid producing basidiomycetous yeasts of the family Ustilaginaceae provide this required characteristic and the species Ustilago rabenhorstiana was examined in this study. By an optimization of media components, process parameters, and a fed-batch mode with glucose the final titer increased from maximum 33.3 g·L−1 in shake flasks to 50.3 g·L−1 in a bioreactor. Moreover, itaconic acid was produced from different sugar monomers based on renewable feedstocks by U. rabenhorstiana and the robustness against weak acids as sugar degradation products was confirmed. Based on these findings, U. rabenhorstiana has a high potential as alternative natural itaconic acid producer besides the well-known U. maydis and A. terreus.