In the 1950s Corynebacterium glutamicum was found to be a very efficient producer of L-glutamic acid. Since this time biotechnological processes with bacteria of the species Corynebacterium developed to be among the most important in terms of tonnage and economical value. L-Glutamic acid and L-lysine are bulk products nowadays. L-Valine, L-isoleucine, L-threonine, L-aspartic acid and L-alanine are among other amino acids produced by Corynebacteria. Applications range from feed to food and pharmaceutical products. The growing market for amino acids produced with Corynebacteria led to significant improvements in bioprocess and downstream technology as well as in molecular biology. During the last decade big efforts were made to increase the productivity and to decrease the production costs. This review gives an overview of the world market for amino acids produced by Corynebacteria. Significant improvements in bioprocess technology, i.e. repeated fed batch or continuous production are summarised. Bioprocess technology itself was improved furthermore by application of more sophisticated feeding and automatisation strategies. Even though several amino acids developed towards commodities in the last decade, side aspects of the production process like sterility or detection of contaminants still have increasing relevance. Finally one focus of this review is on recent developments in downstream technology. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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