How is lactic acid produced?
Lactic acid can be produced naturally or synthetically. Commercial lactic acid is produced naturally by fermentation of carbohydrates such as glucose, sucrose, or lactose. The current world market leader in the commercial production of lactic acid is PURAC: www.purac.com.
The natural production process is shown in the figure below. Wih the addition of lime or chalk, the raw materials are fermented in a fermenter and crude calcium lactate is formed. The gypsum is separated from the crude calcium lactate, which results in crude lactic acid. The crude lactic acid is purified and concentrated and L(+) lactic acid is the result.FIGURE 1 - LACTIC ACID PRODUCTION PROCESS