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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #392452

Research Project: Improved Conversion of Sugar Crops into Food, Biofuels, Biochemicals, and Bioproducts

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: Biological roles and applications of aconitic acid

item Bruni, Gillian
item Klasson, K Thomas

Submitted to: Scholarly Community Encyclopedia
Publication Type: Literature Review
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/16/2022
Publication Date: 3/16/2022
Citation: Bruni, G.O., Klasson, K.T. 2022. Biological roles and applications of aconitic acid. Scholarly Community Encyclopedia. Available: http//

Interpretive Summary: Aconitic acid is a valuable six-carbon organic acid that accumulates in sugar crops such as sugarcane and sweet sorghum. Aconitic acid can be isolated from renewable agricultural by-products and used to produce value-added chemicals and bio-based products. Some of these bio-based products have potential applications in tissue engineering and sustainable agriculture. Environmentally friendly uses of aconitic acid also include its use as a bio-based plasticizer, cross-linker, and precursor to various high value polyesters.

Technical Abstract: Aconitic acid (propene-1,2,3-tricarboxylic acid) is the most prevalent 6-carbon organic acid that accumulates in sugarcane and sweet sorghum. As a top value-added chemical, aconitic acid may function as a chemical precursor or intermediate for high-value downstream industrial and biological applications. These downstream applications include use as a bio-based plasticizer, cross-linker, and the formation of valuable and multi-functional polyesters that have also been used in tissue engineering. Aconitic acid also plays various biological roles within cells as an intermediate in the tricarboxylic acid cycle and in conferring unique survival advantages to some plants as an antifeedant, antifungal, and means of storing fixed pools of carbon. Aconitic acid has also been reported as a fermentation inhibitor, anti-inflammatory, and a potential nematicide.