Carbon sources with different oxidation states were used to investigate the possibility increasing the availability of NADH and the NADH/NAD(+) ratio and to determine the effect of this manipulation on the distribution of metabolites in Actinobacillus succinogenes NJ113. The sugars glucose, sorbitol and gluconate were each used at an initial concentration of 40 g/L. The yield of succinic acid (0.75) and the ratio of succinic acid to acetic acid (5.06) were both higher for sorbitol than the values obtained with glucose (0.66 and 2.68, respectively). In contrast, with gluconate as the carbon source the yield of succinic acid was 0.54 and the ratio of succinic acid to acetic acid was only 1.70. This work showed that different levels of NADH availability and the NADH/NAD(+) ratio can be achieved by using carbon sources that have different oxidation states. Highly reduced sorbitol was examined as a possible carbon substrate for maximizing the redox potential during the production of succinic acid. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.