Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 524–534 | Cite as

Fermentative production of lactic acid from biomass: an overview on process developments and future perspectives

  • Rojan P. John
  • K. Madhavan NampoothiriEmail author
  • Ashok Pandey


The concept of utilizing excess biomass or wastes from agricultural and agro-industrial residues to produce energy, feeds or foods, and other useful products is not necessarily new. Recently, fermentation of biomass has gained considerable attention due to the forthcoming scarcity of fossil fuels and also due to the necessity of increasing world food and feed supplies. A cost-effective viable process for lactic acid production has to be developed for which several attempts have been initiated. Fermentation techniques result in the production of either d (−) or l (+) lactic acid, or a racemic mixture of both, depending on the type of organism used. The interest in the fermentative production of lactic acid has increased due to the prospects of environmental friendliness and of using renewable resources instead of petrochemicals. Amylolytic bacteria Lactobacillus amylovorus ATCC 33622 is reported to have the efficiency of full conversion of liquefied cornstarch to lactic acid with a productivity of 20 g l−1 h−1. A maximum of 35 g l−1 h−1 was reported using a high cell density of L. helveticus (27 g l−1) with a complete conversion of 55- to 60-g l−1 lactose present in whey. Simultaneous saccharification and fermentation is proved to be best in the sense of high substrate concentration in lower reactor volume and low fermentation cost. In this review, a survey has been made to see how effectively the fermentation technology explored and exploited the cheaply available source materials for value addition with special emphasis on lactic acid production.


Lactic acid Renewable resource Agro-industrial residue Solid-state fermentation 



The authors would like to thank Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Task force (CMM 0006) program for providing the financial support. One of the authors (RPJ) is deeply indebted to CSIR for the award of Senior Research Fellowship.


  1. Aksu Z, Kutsal T (1986) Lactic acid production from molasses utilizing Lactobacillus delbrueckii and invertase together. Biotechnol Lett 8:157–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Altaf M, Naveena BJ, Venkateshwar M, Kumar EV, Reddy G (2006) Single step fermentation of starch to l(+) lactic acid by Lactobacillus amylophilus GV6 in SSF using inexpensive nitrogen sources to replace peptone and yeast extract—optimization by RSM. Proc Biochem 41:465–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anuradha R, Suresh AK, Venkatesh KV (1999) Simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of starch to lactic acid. Proc Biochem 35:367–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barbosa MCS, Soccol CR, Marin B, Todeschini ML, Tonial T, Flores V (1995) Advance in solidstate fermentation. Kluwer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  5. Bohak I, Back W, Richter L, Ehrmann M, Ludwing W, Schleifer KH (1998) Lactobacillus amylolyticus sp. nov., isolated from beer malt and beer wort. System Appl Microbiol 21:360–364Google Scholar
  6. Bramorski A, Soccol CR, Christen P, Revah S (1998) Fruity aroma production by Ceratocystis fibriate in solid culture from agro-industrial waste. Rev Microbiol 29:208–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cheng P, Muller RE, Jaeger S, Bajpai R, Jannotti EL (1991) Lactic acid production from enzyme thinned cornstarch using Lactobacillus amylovorus. J Ind Microbiol 7:27–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Datta R, Henry M (2006) Lactic acid: recent advances in products, processes and technologies—a review. J Chem Technol Biotechnol 81:1119–1129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Datta R, Tsai SP, Bonsignor P, Moon S, Frank J (1995) Technological and economical potential of polylactic acid and lactic acid derivatives. FEMS Microbiol Rev 16:221–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dimerci A, Pometto AL III, Johnson KE (1993) Lactic acid production in a mixed culture biofilm reactor. Appl Environ Microbiol 59:203–207Google Scholar
  11. Dong XY, Bai S, Sun Y (1996) Production of l(−)-lactic acid with Rhizopus oryzae immobilized in polyurethane foam cubes. Biotechnol Lett 18:225–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Du JX, Cao NJ, Gong CS, Tsao GT (1998) Production of l-lactic acid by Rhizopus oryzae in a bubble column fermenter. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 70:323–329Google Scholar
  13. Fitzpatrick JJ, Keeffe UO (2001) Influence on whey protein hydrolyste addition to whey permeate batch fermentations for producing lactic acid. Proc Biochem 37:183–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gao M, Hirata M, Toorisaka E, Hano T (2006a) Study on acid-hydrolysis of spent cells for lactic acid fermentation. Biochem Eng J 28:87–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gao M, Hirata M, Toorisaka E, Hano T (2006b) Acid-hydrolysis of fish wastes for lactic acid fermentation. Bioresour Technol 97:2414–2420Google Scholar
  16. Goksungur Y, Guvenc U (1999) Batch and continuous production of lactic acid from beet molasses by immobilized Lactobacillus delbrueckii IFO 3202. J Chem Technol Biotechnol 74:131–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gregor R (1999) The scientific basis for probiotic stains of Lactobacillus. Appl Environ Microbiol 60:3763–3766Google Scholar
  18. Hamamci H, Ryu DDY (1994) Production of l (+)-lactic acid using immobilized Rhizopus oryzae—reactor performance based on kinetic model and simulation. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 44:125–133Google Scholar
  19. Hang YD (1989) Direct fermentation of corn starch to l (+) lactic acid by Rhizopus oryzae. Biotechnol Lett 11:299–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hang YD (1990) Direct fermentation of cornstarch to l (+) lactic acid by Rhizopus oryzae. US Patent 4,963,486Google Scholar
  21. Hang YD, Hamemei H, Woodams EE (1989) Production of l (+) lactic acid by Rhizopus oryzae immobilized in calcium alginate gels. Biotechnol Lett 11:119–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hofvendahl K, Hahn-Hägerdal B (1997) l-Lactic acid production from whole wheat flour hydrolysate using strains of Lactobacilli and Lactococci. Enzyme Microb Technol 20:301–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hofvendahl K, Hahn-Hägerdal B (2000) Factors affecting the fermentative lactic acid production from renewable resources1. Enzyme Microb Technol 26:87–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hofvendahl K, Akerberg C, Zacchi G, Hahn-Hägerdal B (1999) Simultaneous enzymatic wheat starch saccharifiaction and fermentation to lactic acid by Lactococcus lactis. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 52:163–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hujanen M, Linko S, Linko YY, Leisola M (2001) Optimisation of media and cultivation conditions for l(+)(S)-lactic acid production by Lactobacillus casei NRRL B-441. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 56:126–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Inskeep GC, Taylor GG, Breitzke WC (1952) Lactic acid from corn sugar. Ind Eng Chem 44:1955–1966CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jin B, Yin P, Ma Y, Zhao L (2005) Production of lactic acid and fungal biomass by Rhizopus fungi from food processing waste streams. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 32:678–686CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. John RP, Nampoothiri KM, Pandey A (2006a) Solid-state fermentation for l-lactic acid production from agro wastes using Lactobacillus delbrueckii. Proc Biochem 41:759–763CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. John RP, Nampoothiri KM, Pandey A (2006b) Simultaneous saccharification and l-(+)-lactic acid fermentation of protease-treated wheat bran using mixed culture of lactobacilli. Biotechnol Lett 28:1823–1826CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kadam SR, Patil SS, Bastawde KB, Khire JM, Gokhale DV (2006) Strain improvement of Lactobacillus delbrueckii NCIM 2365 for lactic acid production. Proc Biochem 41:120–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Karel M, Jaroslav V, Vera H, Mojmir R (1997) Lactic acid production in a cell retention continuous culture using lignocellulosic hydrolysate as a substrate. J Biotechnol 56:25–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kotzamanidis C, Roukas T, Skaracis G (2002) Optimization of lactic acid production from beet molasses by Lactobacillus delbrueckii NCIMB 8130. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 18:441–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Krishnan S, Bhattacharya S, Karanth NG (1998) Media optimization for production of lactic acid by Lactobacillus plantarum NCIM 2084 using response surface methodology. Food Biotechnol 12:105–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kristoficova L, Rosenberg M, Vlnova A, Sajbidor J, Cetrik M (1991) Selection of Rhizopus strains for l (+) lactic acid and gamma-linolenic acid production. Folia Microbiol 36:451–455Google Scholar
  35. Kulozik U, Wilde J (1999) Rapid lactic acid production at high cell concentrations in whey ultrafiltrate by Lactobacillus helveticus. Enzyme Microb Technol 24:297–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kurbanoglu EB, Kurbanoglu NI (2003) Utilization for lactic acid with a new acid hydrolysis of ram horn waste. FEMS Microbiol Lett 225:29–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kurusava H, Ishikawa H, Tanaka H (1988) l-lactic acid production from starch by co-immobilized mixed culture system of Aspergilus awamori and Streptococcus lactis. Biotechnol Bioeng 31:183–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Linko YY, Javaneinen P (1996) Simultaneous liquefaction, saccharification and lactic acid fermentation on barley starch. Enzyme Microb Technol 19:118–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Litchfield JH (1996) Microbiological production of lactic acid. Adv Appl Microbiol 42:45–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lockwood LB, Ward GE, May OE (1936) The physiology of Rhizopus oryzae. J Agric Res 53:849–857Google Scholar
  41. Montelongo J-L, Chassy BM, McCord JD (1993) Lactobacillus salivarious for conversion of soy molasses into lactic acid. J Food Sci 58:863–866Google Scholar
  42. Nampoothiri KM, Pandey A (1996) Solid state fermentation for l-glutamic acid production using Brevibacterium sp. Biotechnol Lett 16:199–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nampoothiri KM, Baiju TV, Sandhya C, Sabu A, Szakacs G, Pandey A (2004) Process optimization for fungal chitinase production by Trichoderma harzianum. Proc Biochem 39:1583–1590CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nancib A, Nancib N, Meziane-Cherif D, Boudenbir A, Fick M, Boudrant J (2005) Joint effect of nitrogen sources and B vitamin supplementation of date juice on lactic acid production by Lactobacillus casei subsp. rhamnosus. Biores Technol 96:63–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Naveena BJ (2004) Amylolytic bacterial l(+) lactic acid production in solid state fermentation and molecular identification of the strain. Ph.D. thesis, Osmania University, Hyderabad, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  46. Naveena BJ, Altaf M, Bhadriah K, Reddy G (2005) Selection of medium components by Placket Burman design for the production of l(+) lactic acid by Lactobacillus amylophilus GV6 in SSF using wheat bran. Bioresour Technol 96:485–490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Nolasco-Hipolito C, Matsunaka T, Kobayashi G, Sonomoto K, Ishizaki A (2002) Synchronised fresh cell bioreactor system for continuous L(+) lactic acid production using Lactococcus lactis IO-1 in hydrolysed sago starch. J Biosci Bioeng 93:281–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Ohkouchi Y, Inoue Y (2006) Direct production of l(+)-lactic acid from starch and food wastes using Lactobacillus manihotivorans LMG18011. Bioresour Technol 97:1554–1562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pandey A (1991) Aspects of design of fermenter in solid-state fermentation. Proc Biochem 26:355–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Pandey A, Soccol CR (2000) Economic utilization of crop residues for value addition: a future approach. J Sci Ind Res 59:12–22Google Scholar
  51. Pandey A, Soccol CR, Nigam P, Soccol VT (2000) Biotechnological potential of agro-industrial residues. I: sugarcane bagasse. Bioresour Technol 74:69–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pandey A, Soccol CR, Rodriguez-Leon JA, Nigam P (2001) Solid state fermentation in biotechnology: fundamentals and applications. Asiatech Publishers, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  53. Pauli T, Fitzpatrick JJ (2002) Malt combing nuts as a nutrient supplement to whey permeate for producing lactic by fermentation with Lactobacillus casei. Proc Biochem 38:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Pintado J, Guyot JP, Raimbault M (1999) Lactic acid production from mussel processing wastes with an amylolytic bacterial strain. Enzyme Microb Technol 24:590–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Podlech PAS, Luna MF, Jerke PR, De Souza Neto CAC, Dos Passos RF, Souza O, Borzani W (1990) Semicontinuous lactic fermentation of whey by Lactobacillus bulgaricus. I. Experimental results. Biotechnol Lett 12:531–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Prescott SC, Dunn CG (1959) Industrial microbiology, 3rd edn. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  57. Raccach M, Mamiro T (1997) The effect of temperature on the lactic acid fermentation of rye flour. Food Microbiol 4:213–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ramachandran S, Patel AK, Nampoothiri KM, Francis F, Nagi V, Szakacs G, Pandey A (2004) Coconut oilcake—a potential raw material for the production of alpha amylase. Bioresour Technol 93:169–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Richter K, Trager A (1994) l(+) Lactic acid from sweet sorghum by submerged and solid state fermentations. Acta Biotechnol 14:367–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rojan PJ, Nampoothiri KM, Nair AS, Pandey A (2005) l(+)-Lactic acid production using Lactobacillus casei in solid-state fermentation. Biotechnol Lett 27:1685–1688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Roukas T, Kotzekidou P (1998) Lactic acid production from deproteinized whey by mixed cultures of free and coimmobilized Lactobacillus casei and Lactococcus lactis cells using fedbatch culture. Enzyme Microb Technol 22:199–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Saha BC, Nakamura LK (2003) Production of mannitol and lactic acid by fermentation with Lactobacillus intermedius NRRL B-3693. Biotechnol Bioeng 82:865–871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Senthuran A, Senthuran V, Mattiasson B, Kaul R (1997) Lactic acid fermentation in a recycle batch reactor using immobilized Lactobacillus casei. Biotechnol Bioeng 55:843–853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Sethi V, Maini SB (1999) Biotechnology: food fermentation. Asiatech Publishers, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  65. Shankaranad VS, Lonsane BK (1994) Solid-state fermentation. Wiley Eastern Publishers, New Delhi, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  66. Sharma N, Wati L, Singh D (2003) Production of lactic acid during bioremediation of anaerobically digested molasses spent wash. Indian J Microbiol 43:119–121Google Scholar
  67. Singh SK, Ahmed SU, Pandey A (2006) Metabolic engineering approaches for lactic acid production. Proc Biochem 41:991–1000CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Snell RL, Lowery CE (1964) Calcium l (−) lactate and l (−) lactic acid production. US Patent 3,125,494Google Scholar
  69. Soccol C, Marin B, Raimbault M, Lebeault JM (1994) Potential of solid state fermentation for the production of l(+) lactic acid by Rhizopus oryzae. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 41:286–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sreenath HK, Moldes AB, Koegel RG, Straub RJ (2001) Lactic acid production by simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of alfalfa fiber. J Biosci Bioeng 92:518–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Stanier RY, Ingraham JL, Wheelis JL, Painter PR (1986) General microbiology. Macmillan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  72. Tango MS, Ghaly AE (2002) A continuous lactic acid production system using an immobilized packed bed of Lactobacillus helveticus. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 58:712–720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Timbuntam W, Sriroth K, Tokiwa Y (2006) Lactic acid production from sugar-cane juice by a newly isolated Lactobacillus sp. Biotechnol Lett 28:811–814CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Tiwari KP, Mishra N, Pandey A (1979) Lactic acid formation in presence of some vitamins by Lactobacillus delbrueckii. Indian J Microbiol 19:155–157Google Scholar
  75. Tsai TS, Millard CS (1994) Improved pretreatment process for lactic acid production. PCT International Applied Patent WO 94/13826: PCT/US93/11759Google Scholar
  76. Vanwalsum GP, Allen SG, Spencer MJ, Laser MS, Antal MJ, Lynd LR (1996) Conversion of lignocellulosics pretreated with liquid hot water to ethanol. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 57–58:157–170Google Scholar
  77. Venkatesh KV (1997) Simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of cellulose to lactic acid. Bioresour Technol 62:91–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Vickroy TB (1985) Comprehensive biotechnology. Dic Pergamon, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  79. Vishnu C, Seenayya G, Reddy G (2000) Direct fermentation of starch to l(+) lactic acid by amylase producing Lactobacillus amylophilus GV6. Bioprocess Eng 23:155–158Google Scholar
  80. Wang H (1998) Improvement of citric acid production by Aspergillus niger with addition of phytase to beet molasses. Bioresour Technol 65:243–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Ward GE, Lockwood LB, May OE (1938) Fermentation process for the manufacture of dextro-lactic acid. US Patent 2,132,712Google Scholar
  82. Wee Y-J, Kim J-N, Ryu H-W (2006) Biotechnological production of lactic acid and its recent applications. Food Technol Biotechnol 44:163–172Google Scholar
  83. Woiciechowski AL, Nitsche S, Pandey A, Socool CR (2002) Acid and enzymatic hydrolysis to recover reducing sugars from cassava bagasse: an economic study. Braz Arch Biol Technol 45:393–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Xavier S, Lonsane BK (1994) Sugarcane pressmud as a novel and inexpensive substrate for production of lactic acid in a solid state fermentation system. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 41:291–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Xiaodong W, Xuan G, Rakshit SK (1997) Direct fermentation of lactic acid from cassava or other starch substrates. Biotechnol Lett 9:841–843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Yin PM, Nishina N, Kosakai Y, Yahiro K, Park Y, Okabe M (1997) Enhanced production of l(−)-lactic acid from corn starch in a culture of Rhizopus oryzae using an air-lift bioreactor. J Ferment Bioeng 84:249–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Yin PM, Yahiro K, Ishigaki T, Park Y, Okabe M (1998) l(−)-Lactic acid production by repeated batch culture of Rhizopus oryzae in air-lift bioreactor. J Ferment Bioeng 85:96–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Yu RU, Hang YD (1989) Kinetics of direct fermentation of agricultural commodities to l(+) lactic acid by Rhizopus oryzae. Biotechnol Lett 11:597–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Yumoto I, Ikeda K (1995) Direct fermentation of starch to l(+)-lactic acid using Lactobacillus amylophilus. Biotechnol Lett 17:543–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Yun J-S, Wee Y-J, Kim J-N, Ryu H-W (2004) Fermentative production of dl lactic acid from amylase treated rice and wheat brans hydrolysate by a novel lactic acid bacterium, Lactobacillus sp. Biotechnol Lett 18:1613–1616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Zayed G, Mostafa N (1992) Studies on the production and kinetic aspects of single cell protein from sugarcane bagasse saccharified with Aspergillus niger. Biomass Bioenergy 3:363–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Zhang DX, Cheryan M (1991) Direct fermentation of starch to lactic acid by Lactobacillus amylovorus. Biotechnol Lett 10:733–738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Zhou SD, McCaskey TA, Broder J (1995) Evaluation of nitrogen supplement for bioconversion of municipal solid waste for lactic acid. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 57–58:517–527Google Scholar
  94. Zhou Y, Du JX, Tsao GT (2000) Mycelial pellet formation by Rhizopus oryzae ATCC 20344. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 84:779–789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Zhou Y, Dominguez JM, Cao NJ, Du JX, Tsao GT (1999) Optimization of l-lactic acid production from glucose by Rhizopus oryzae ATCC 52311. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 77:40Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rojan P. John
    • 1
  • K. Madhavan Nampoothiri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ashok Pandey
    • 1
  1. 1.Biotechnology Division, Regional Research LaboratoryCouncil of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)TrivandrumIndia

Personalised recommendations