Critical Reviews in Biotechnology 36 (2016)
Xylitol is a pentahydroxy sugar alcohol coming from xylose with many applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries as a low caloric sweetener suitable for diabetics and as an active ingredient in several biomedical applications. The microbial bioproduction of xylitol from natural xylose coming from lignocellulosic materials appears a sustainable and a promising alternative to chemical synthesis, which works at stronger reaction conditions and generates undesirable co-products which must be removed. There are several reviews that study the metabolic pathways in wild and transformed xylitol producing yeasts and the culture conditions that enhance xylitol accumulation, which are mainly related to the need of microaerobiose for the best producing wild yeasts. Nevertheless, there are relatively few studies focusing on the engineering aspects related to scalable systems and bioreactors that could result in a final industrial stage. This review explores recent advances on xylitol production using immobilized systems, which have been proposed to facilitate the reuse of the biocatalyst for extended periods and the main types of bioreactors available assayed for this purpose.