Lactic acid has become increasingly important, especially as preservative and stabilizer in fat-reduced food products. More recently the conversion of lactic acid to polylactide polymer pioneered by Cargill, represents one of the first commercial applications of biodegradable polymers.
The production process for lactic acid [based on fermentation of sugar or starch/glucose] is described. The output and capacity of lactic acid is given, listing various producers involved in this sector. Applications of lactic acid in foods, pharmaceuticals/cosmetics and polymers are discussed.
The projected market for lactic acid by 2020 is given.