Published: CABEQ 22 (2) (2008) 245–264
Paper type: Review

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Recent Trends in the Production, Purification and Application of Lactic Acid

J. Vijayakumar, A. Rajendran and T. Viruthagiri

Lactic acid, a naturally occurring multifunctional organic acid, is a valuable industrial chemical used as an acidulant, preservative in the food industry, pharmaceutical, leather, and textile industries, as well as a chemical feedstock. One of the most promising applications of lactic acid is its use for biodegradable and biocompatible lactate polymers, such as polylactic acid. Lactic acid can be produced either by fermentation or by chemical synthesis but the biotechnological fermentation process has received significant importance due to environmental concerns, use of renewable resources instead of petrochemicals, low production temperature, low energy requirements and high purity. There are numerous investigations on the development of biotechnological methods for lactic acid production, with an ultimate objective to enable the process to be more efficient and economical. This review discusses the various recent fermentation technologies to produce lactic acid, different microorganisms involved in the production of lactic acid, purification and wide industrial applications of lactic acid.

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lactic acid, lactic acid bacteria, fermentation, purification, applications