Production of L-Lactic Acid from Fermentation of Hydrolyzed Sago Starch
Sago, which grows well with minimum care in swamp and peat areas otherwise inhabitable for most other crops, produces high yield of low-priced starch (25t starch/ha/yr) (Ishizaki, 1997). Bioconversion of sago starch into glucose is a sensible alternative since glucose (US$0.50/kg) fetch a higher price than sago starch (US$0.20/kg).
Fermenting glucose to lactic acid (US$30-50/litre) will certainly add further value to the end-product (Bujang, 2004). L-lactic acid, the natural isomer of lactic acid (found in our body), can be produced by microbial fermentation.
Recent advances in the use of lactic acid for the production of biodegradable thermoplastics and cosmetics (skin care, toiletries, hair care products) have created an impetus in the lactate industries, which concomitantly acts as a catalyst for the growth of sago industries.
The work in our laboratory has shown that hydrolysis of sago starch yields glucose (98%) which when fermented produces crude lactic acid (96%). This can be purified into L-lactic acid using powdered activated charcoal with a 98% recovery.
Faculty of Resource Science and Technology