The production of fumaric acid by immobilized Rhizopus arrhizus TKK 204-1-1a mycelium was optimized in batch fermentations using statistical experimental design and empiric modelling. The maximum fumaric acid concentration was obtained at a xylose concentration of about 6% and a carbon:nitrogen ratio of about 160. In repeated batch fermentations with immobilized cells the highest volumetric productivity of fumaric acid reached was 87 mg/l per hour when the initial xylose concentration was 10%, the C:N ratio 160 and the residence time 1.75 days. The maximum product concentration was 16.4 g/l when the initial xylose concentration was 10%, the C:N ratio 160 and the residence time 10.25 days. The maximum yield from initial xylose (6.47%) was 23.7% with a product concentration of 15.3 g/l and volumetric productivity of 71 mg/l per hour at a residence time of 9 days and a C:N ratio of 188.3. Immobilization could increase the fumaric acid concentration to a level 3.4 times higher than that produced by free cells.
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