Reactive extraction can be used for the recovery of carboxylic acids from fermentation broth. Through the formation of complex with extractants at the two-phase interface, the carboxylic acids are partitioned into organic solvents. However, the recovery of carboxylic acids is interrupted by the conditions of fermentation broth. In this study, the effects of conditions of fermentation broth on the extraction kinetics were investigated using a microporous membrane-based stirred cell for the extraction of succinic acid with tri-n-octylamine. The interfacial concentrations of species in various systems were correlated and thus the effects of pH, salts and contaminated acid on the intrinsic reaction kinetics were discovered. The reaction rate constants were determined from the forward reaction rate equation reported in our previous work. It was found that the extraction rates were steeply decreased at pH values larger than 3 due to the dissociation of carboxylic group. Competitive extraction of salts, which were HPO42-(or PO43-), CO32-and SO42-, and contaminated acid, which was pyruvic acid, had negative influence on the extraction process of succinic acid and thus the extraction rates were decreased. The interfacial concentrations of succinic acid and TOA in fermentation broth had no difference with those in artificial single acid systems. Therefore, the decrease of extraction rates can be explained by the change of ionic strength in fermentation broth. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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