Biotechnological production of enantiomerically pure d-lactic acid
The fermentation process of l-lactic acid is well known. Little importance was attached to d-lactic acid, but in the past 10 years, d-lactic acid gained significantly in importance. d-Lactic acid is an interesting precursor for manufacturing heat-resistant polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastics which can be widely used, for example as packaging material, coatings, for textiles or in the automotive industry. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the most recent developments, including a spectrum of studied microorganisms and their capabilities for the production of d-lactic acid. Additionally, the technological achievements in biotechnological d-lactic acid production including fermentation techniques like fed batch, simultaneous saccharification, and fermentation and continuous techniques are presented. Attention is also turned to suitable alternative substrates and their applicability in fermentation processes. Furthermore, advantages and disadvantages of product recovery and purification are discussed. Economic aspects of PLA are pointed out, and the present industrial producers of lactic acid are briefly introduced.