Process for the Preparation of Lactic Acid and Glyceric Acid


Description of Technology


Michigan State University’s invention is a process for making lactic and glyceric acid. Aqueous solutions of hexose and pentose sugars, typically glucose or fructose, are digested in the presence of strong anionic exchange resins that act as solid bases. Lactic and glyceric anions form but are bound to the ion exchange resins. The spent sugar solutions are removed and then, through addition of sulfuric acid, the lactic and glyceric acids separate from the resin and are recovered as useful products.


Key Benefits

  • The process achieves higher yields and is easily operated at modest temperatures, compared to previous processes.
  • Lactic acid is finding growing use as a monomer in polylactic acid, a biodegradable polymer.
  • The active sites on the resin appear to not be destroyed by the buildup of the organic acid anions upon them.



  • Industrial formulations
  • Chemical syntheses
  • Intermediate for physiologically active compounds and amino acids (medical and nutraceutical), including alcohol metabolization
  • Consumer products


Patent Status


U.S. patent 7,459,584




James Jackson, Dennis Miller, Simona Marincean


Tech ID




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University