Main applications


drinksCitric acid

Citric acid occurs naturally in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Its acidulant properties are highly-valued in the food and drink industries where it is used as a natural preservative and flavouring agent. Citric acid is also used to regulate pH in pharmaceutical preparations and as a chelating agent for a range of technical and industrial applications, including detergents.

World production of citric acid increased from 1 million tonnes a year in 2004 to 1.7 million tonnes a year in 2014 (70% increase). The EU share of citric acid production has remained stable overall during that period. (LMC International figures


bioplasticsLactic acid

Lactic acid is a natural constituent of the human body and is widely present in nature. It is an extremely functional and versatile basic organic molecule used for many different purposes. Lactic acid and its salts are a common food ingredient used to control pH, enhance flavour or for preservation. Additionally, lactic acid and its derivatives are applied in many different applications, such as solvents (microelectronics), acids (electroplating), chemical building blocks (bioplastics, herbicides, coatings, adhesives), electrolytes (IV/CAPD solutions) and disinfectants and descaling agents (detergents).

World production of lactic acid increased from 0.2 million tonnes in 2004 to 0.5 million tonnes in 2014 (150% increase). However, the EU share of lactic acid production dramatically decreased in favour of other world regions, due to legal uncertainty over access to sugar and other feedstocks. (LMC International figures)


chicken feedAmino acids

Amino acids are vital molecules to any life process. They are the building blocks of all proteins and play important functional roles in living organisms. They have multiple applications in animal feed, food production, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. In animal feed, they allow to replace imported proteins, such as soybean, with a mix of cereals and amino acids. Amino acids also help to ensure a balanced animal diet, contributing to healthier livestock while reducing the environmental impact of farming. In food production, amino acids enhance taste and contribute to healthier products. World production of lysine (amino acids) increased from 0.9 million tonnes in 2004 to 2 million tonnes in 2014 (about 120% increase). However, EU share of amino acids production dramatically decreased, due to legal uncertainty over access to sugar. (LMC International figures)



Vitamins are essential nutrients for humans. Among them, Vitamin C plays a key role in boosting the human immune system and acts as a powerful antioxidant, reducing the damage caused by free radicals. As the body is not able to produce and store vitamin C on its own, it is essential to include foods which contain vitamin C in our daily diet.

World production of vitamin C doubled from 0.1 million tonnes in 2004 to 0.2 million tonnes in 2014. However, the EU share of vitamin C production decreased in favour of other world regions, due to legal uncertainty over access to sugar and other feedstocks. (LMC International figures)



Penicillin is an effective antibiotic and the starting material for a variety of semi-synthetic anti-infective agents. Progress in fermentation processes during the Second World War enabled penicillin to be produced on an industrial scale, saving hundreds of millions of lives.