Consolidated bioprocessing of cellulose to itaconic acid by a co-culture of Trichoderma Reesei and Ustilago Maydis.
Itaconic acid is a bio-derived platform chemical with uses ranging from polymer synthesis to biofuel production. The efficient conversion of cellulosic waste streams into itaconic acid could thus enable the sustainable production of a variety of substitutes for fossil oil based products. However, the realization of such a process is currently hindered by an expensive conversion of cellulose into fermentable sugars. Here, we present the stepwise development of a fully consolidated bioprocess (CBP), which is capable to directly convert recalcitrant cellulose into itaconic acid without the need for separate cellulose hydrolysis including the application of commercial cellulases. The process is based on a synthetic microbial consortium of the cellulase producer Trichoderma reesei and the itaconic acid producing yeast Ustilago maydis.