The development and implementation of renewable materials for the production of versatile chemical resources have gained considerable attention recently, as this offers an alternative to the environmental problems caused by the petroleum industry and the limited supply of fossil resources. Therefore, the concept of utilizing biomass or wastes from agricultural and industrial residues to produce useful chemical products has been widely accepted. Lactic acid plays an important role due to its versatile application in the food, medical, and cosmetics industries and as a potential raw material for the manufacture of biodegradable plastics. Currently, the fermentative production of optically pure lactic acid has increased because of the prospects of environmental friendliness and cost-effectiveness. In order to produce lactic acid with high yield and optical purity, many studies focus on wild microorganisms and metabolically engineered strains. This article reviews the most recent advances in the biotechnological production of lactic acid mainly by lactic acid bacteria, and discusses the feasibility and potential of various processes.
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