Xylose metabolism in the fungus Rhizopus oryzae : effect of growth and respiration on l (+)-lactic acid production

R.H.W. Maas, J. Springer, G. Eggink, R.A. Weusthuis

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52 Citations (Scopus)


The fungus Rhizopus oryzae converts both glucose and xylose under aerobic conditions into chirally pure l(+)-lactic acid with by-products such as xylitol, glycerol, ethanol, carbon dioxide and fungal biomass. In this paper, we demonstrate that the production of lactic acid by R. oryzae CBS 112.07 only occurs under growing conditions. Deprivation of nutrients such as nitrogen, essential for fungal biomass formation, resulted in a cessation of lactic acid production. Complete xylose utilisation required a significantly lower C/N ratio (61/1) compared to glucose (201/1), caused by higher fungal biomass yields that were obtained with xylose as substrate. Decreasing the oxygen transfer rate resulted in decline of xylose consumption rates, whereas the conversion of glucose by R. oryzae was less affected. Both results were linked to the fact that R. oryzae CBS 112.07 utilises xylose via the two-step reduction/oxidation route. The consequences of these effects for R. oryzae as a potential lactic acid producer are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-578
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • lactic-acid
  • saccharomyces-cerevisiae
  • fermentation
  • glucose
  • starch
  • purification
  • bioreactor
  • yeasts


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