Production and applications of carbohydrate-derived sugar acids as generic biobased chemicals

Tuomas Mehtiö, Mervi Toivari, Marilyn G. Wiebe, Ali Harlin, Merja Penttilä (Corresponding Author), Anu Koivula

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    80 Citations (Scopus)


    This review considers the chemical and biotechnological synthesis of acids that are obtained by direct oxidation of mono- or oligosaccharide, referred to as sugar acids. It focuses on sugar acids which can be readily derived from plant biomass sources and their current and future applications. The three main classes of sugar acids are aldonic, aldaric and uronic acids. Interest in organic acids derived from sugars has recently increased, as part of the interest to develop biorefineries which produce not only biofuels, but also chemicals to replace those currently derived from petroleum. More than half of the most desirable biologically produced platform chemicals are organic acids. Currently, the only sugar acid with high commercial production is d-gluconic acid. However, other sugar acids such as d-glucaric and meso-galactaric acids are being produced at a lower scale. The sugar acids have application as sequestering agents and binders, corrosion inhibitors, biodegradable chelators for pharmaceuticals and pH regulators. There is also considerable interest in the use of these molecules in the production of synthetic polymers, including polyamides, polyesters and hydrogels. Further development of these sugar acids will lead to higher volume production of the appropriate sugar acids and will help support the next generation of biorefineries.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)904-916
    JournalCritical Reviews in Biotechnology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • aldaric acid
    • aldonic acid
    • applications
    • biotechnology
    • enzyme
    • oxidation
    • sugar acid
    • uronic acid


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