Improved Method for Succinic Acid Recovery




Succinic acid and other carboxylic acids have commercial relevance in the pharmaceutical, food, and polymer production industries, as well as in the manufacture of other industrial chemicals.


Description of Technology


MSU’s invention simplifies the process for the recovery of succinic acid from fermentation broths in the form of ethyl esters, which enables separation of succinate by distillation. The novel aspect of this invention is the extraction of the acids from the fermentation broth into ethanol, eliminating several purification steps required to separate carboxylic acids without needing to purify succinic acid as an intermediate.


Key Benefits

  • Economical and simplified production: The process eliminates the need to isolate and purify succinic acid before producing the ester and reduces waste.
  • Recovery of other co-products: Other important carboxylic acids can be produced economically by the same simplified process.
  • Environmentally-friendly alternative: This process uses less energy and fewer materials than current bio-based processes and enables the recycling of any steam/water produced.



  • Raw material in the manufacture of organic chemicals
  • Sodium salt to improve flavor in the food industry
  • Compound needed to produce paints, dyes, ion exchange resins, and pesticides
  • Agent in the synthesis of diuretics, sedatives, expectorants, and vitamins
  • Sustainable and “green” alternative to petroleum-derived maleic anhydride


Patent Status


Patent pending




Alvaro Orjuela, Abraham Yanez-McKay, Carl Lira, Dennis Miller


Tech ID




Patent Information: