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Lactic acid


E 270 | Lactic acid
Possible use of gene technology Labelling
Nutrient-solution starch from GM maize no


Description of product

Lactic acid is a metabolic product of the lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillen). They are involved in lactic-acid fermentation, a traditional conservation process of food. Examples are Sauerkraut, olives, or pickled vegetables. The preservative effect of the lactic acid formed in may milk products (such as butter and yoghurt) is significant.

  • The preservative effect of lactic acid is relatively weak (it first becomes effective at a concentration of more than 0.5 per cent).
  • It hinders the appearance of some undesired or harmful bacteria. Often, lactic acid is applied in combination with other preservatives.
  • Lactic acid is also used because of its flavour-enhancing characteristics.


Lactic acid is used in:

  • pickled vegetables (cabbage, beans, pickles, sauerkraut, olives, mixed pickles, etc.)
  • margarine(to enhance flavor)
  • salad sauce
  • babyfood (improves digestibility)
  • beverages (improves suitability for storage)

Gene Technology

Today, lactic acid is predominantly produced with biotechnical methods that employ lactic-acid bacteria. Generally, such bacteria are not genetically modified. In order for the bacteria to perform the desired chemical changes, they need a specific nutrient medium. In the production of lactic acid, this medium consists mostly of maize starch or potato starch.

  • Maize starch may consist partly of genetically modified maize, especially when the raw materials are imported from the USA or Argentina. In the EU, genetically modified maize is grown on a comparatively small area and nonetheless is not used as raw material for foodstuff. This may change in the case that the cultivation of GM maize increases in significance.
  • Potatoes: at this time, no GM species are commercially cultivated; however, that may be subject to change in the near future.

Labelling: The nutrients of GM plants that are used for the production of lactic acid are not subject to a labelling requirement.

If lactic acid is produced with the aid of of GM microorganisms, it is not subject to a labelling requirement. Additives that are produced in closed systems with help of GM microorganisms are also not subject to a labelling requirement, provided that the additive in question has been purified and does not contain any microorganisms.


December 10, 2008 [nach oben springen]

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