results from, and is largely manufactured by, the bacterial fermentation of milk, cane, or grape sugars, using the lactic bacilli which cause the acidity of soured milk. As thus made from starch, milk, or sugar, the acid is neutralized as the fermentation proceeds by addition of calcium carbonate, and the solution of calcium lactate is subsequently concentrated and decomposed with sulphuric acid. The pure liquid acid has a sp. gr. of about i2485, is soluble in water and alcohol, and is used in the leather and textile industries, and in mordanting, etc. It is best known in a state of solution, but can be obtained in a crystalline form which melts at 180 C. It is also produced by the action of caustic potash solution upon grape or cane sugar with heat. For commercial purposes, lactic acid is prepared of 50 per cent, and 60 per cent, volume, and of 50 per cent, volume strength for edible applications. Upon heating, lactic acid is partially converted into lactide }its anhydrideand when heated with dilute sulphuric acid it splits up into acetaldehyde and formic acid. All the lactates are soluble in water. Lactic acid is said to be rapidly replacing the more expensive citric and tartaric acids in the compounding of soft drinks and in other industrial applications ip the Un.ted States of America, and a small addition is stated to improve the quality of beer of low alcohol content by combining with the amides and aminoacids.
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