Description and general information
Lactic acid is an organic compound which is found in the muscles, blood and various organs of humans (it is produced naturally by the human body), although it can also be produced industrially.
It is found in liquid form and has a slight yellow color. Its taste is moderately acidic and it is widely used as an acidulant in the food industry.
As previously mentioned, lactic acid can be obtained industrially, through laboratory synthesis, by mixing ethanol with sodium cyanide.
Primarily, lactic acid provides energy to humans.
Lactic acid was discovered in 1780 by the Swedish chemist Scheele, who isolated it from sour milk. In 1847, Blonodeaur identified it as a fermentation product. But it was in 1881 that Littlelon began fermentation on an industrial scale.
Besides being produced chemically as explained above, it can also be obtained by biotechnological production, which consists of the fermentation of carbohydrate-rich substrates by bacteria or fungi.
Chemical Formula: H3C-CH(OH)-COOH
Lactic acid’s primary functions are as a preservative and flavor enhancer, but it also has the following applications in the following industries:
- Food industry (Acidulant and preservative).
- Cosmetic industry
- Pharmaceutical industry
- Chemical industry (Solubilizer and pH controlling agent)
- Plastics industry (Precursor of polylactic acid [PLA])
- Paint and resin production
- Biodegradable solvent