This organic compound plays a vital role in human metabolism. It is naturally generated during exercise and is allegedly responsible for the discomfort that muscles undergo when they are worked. It also occurs in sour dairy products, such as cottage cheese and yogurt.
The molecular formula consists of three carbon atoms, six hydrogen atoms and 3 oxygen atoms. It is a carboxylic acid. Placed in a solution, it can easily lose a proton and turn into the lactate ion. It is miscible with water.
Besides its uses as a food additive, it also has pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications. Researchers use it in various topical preparations due to its disinfectant properties. In the last decade, it has also become accepted as a detergent ingredient.
Lactic acid is one of many organically produced compounds whose nature has been applied successfully in commercial and industrial endeavors. It is environmentally safe compared to many other similar compounds.