22. Separation Processes in Biopolymer Production

  1. Shri Ramaswamy2,
  2. Hua-Jiang Huang2 and
  3. Bandaru V. Ramarao3
  1. Sanjay P. Kamble,
  2. Prashant P. Barve,
  3. Imran Rahman and
  4. Bhaskar D. Kulkarni

Published Online: 4 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118493441.ch22

Separation and Purification Technologies in Biorefineries

Separation and Purification Technologies in Biorefineries

How to Cite

Kamble, S. P., Barve, P. P., Rahman, I. and Kulkarni, B. D. (2013) Separation Processes in Biopolymer Production, in Separation and Purification Technologies in Biorefineries (eds S. Ramaswamy, H.-J. Huang and B. V. Ramarao), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118493441.ch22

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA

  2. 3

    Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering, Empire State Paper Research Institute, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York, USA

Author Information

  1. Chemical Engineering and Process Development Division, CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, India

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 11 FEB 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470977965

Online ISBN: 9781118493441



  • biopolymer production;
  • CSTRs;
  • lactic acid (LA);
  • reactive distillation;
  • separation process


Recently lactic acid (LA) and its polymer, polylactic acid (PLA), have attracted the attention of world researchers due to their versatile commercial applications. Whether LA can be used to its full potential largely depends on whether it can be produced in a cost-effective manner with high purity and optical activity. The major technology barrier in the costeffective production of high-purity lactic acid is its downstream separation and purification. This chapter presents a case study where different techniques such as electrodialysis, adsorption, solvent extraction, membrane separation and reactive distillation were analyzed for separation of lactic acid from fermentation froth. Among them, reactive distillation was found to be promising at an industrial scale. Autocatalytic reactive distillation of lactic acid with methanol using a packed bed column followed by hydrolysis of methyl lactate with lactic acid catalyst, using three CSTRs in series, has been reported for purification of lactic acid.