Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 10, pp 4045–4052 | Cite as

Electrolyzing lactic acid in situ in fermentation broth to produce pyruvic acid in electrolysis cell

  • Zhu Xixi
  • Peng Qian
  • Buyun WangEmail author
Biotechnological products and process engineering


Pyruvic acid is an important chemical in the carboxylate platform. Obstacles for its implementation are the need for high energy in chemical synthesis and additives in fermentation leading to increased production costs. Here, pyruvic acid generation from direct conversion of lactic acid in fermentation broth by electrolysis method is presented. It was found that lactic acid could be converted to pyruvic acid in the electrolysis cell under alkaline conditions. Using 12.53 g/L lactic acid fermentation broth as anolyte, 7.01 g/L pyruvic acid could be produced and productivity to lactic acid was 57.66% at initial pH 11.74 and 5.0 V applied a voltage in the electrolysis cell. Meanwhile, 0.472 mol hydrogen was produced at the cathode. The electric energy efficiency was 76.18%. Lactic acid fermentation is relatively cheap and can be performed on many kinds of wastes and biomasses. The results suggest that pyruvic acid production from direct electrolysis of lactic acid fermentation broth can be economically feasible.


Pyruvic acid Lactic acid Electrolysis Alkaline condition 



This work has been funded by the Hubei Provincial Administration of Education Science and Technology Program (No. B2018061, Q20161608), China.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2019_9793_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (522 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 522 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental EngineeringWuhan Textile UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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