Biotechnological Production of Lactic Acid and Its Recent Applications

Young-Jung Wee1, Jin-Nam Kim2 and Hwa-Won Ryu1

School of Biological Sciences and Technology, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 500-757, Republic of Korea

2Department of Material Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 500-757, Republic of Korea

Article history:

Received December 3, 2005
Accepted March 12, 2006

Key words:

lactic acid, poly(lactic acid), lactic acid bacteria, fermentation, biodegradable polymer


Lactic acid is widely used in the food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries and has received increased attention for use as a monomer for the production of biodegradable poly(lactic acid). It can be produced by either biotechnological fermentation or chemical synthesis, but the former route has received considerable interest recently, due to environmental concerns and the limited nature of petrochemical feedstocks. There have been various attempts to produce lactic acid efficiently from inexpensive raw materials. We present a review of lactic acid-producing microorganisms, raw materials for lactic acid production, fermentation approaches for lactic acid production, and various applications of lactic acid, with a particular focus on recent investigations. In addition, the future potentials and economic impacts of lactic acid are discussed.

*Corresponding author: 
                                               ++82 62 53 01 842
                                               ++82 62 53 01 909

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