Lactic Acid - C3H6O3

What is Lactic Acid?

Lactic Acid is an organic acid with chemical formula C3H6O3. It is also known as milk acid. When milk sugar (lactose) undergoes fermentation, the product obtained is lactic acid. It is found in cottage cheese, leban, sour milk, yogurt, and Koumiss. Levo and Dextro are two forms of optical isomers of lactic acid. In the year 1780, Carl Wilhelm Scheele a Swedish chemist isolated lactic acid from sour milk for the first time. This compound is water soluble and white in color in its solid state whereas it is colorless in its liquid state. The soluble salt of lactic acid like calcium lactate can be used as a source of calcium. The PH of 1 mM of lactic acid is about 3.51.

Properties of Lactic Acid – C3H6O3


Lactic Acid

Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass

90.08 g/mol



Boiling Point

122 °C

Melting Point

53 °C

Lactic Acid structure – C3H6O3

Lactic Acid structure

C3H6O3 Uses (Lactic Acid)

  • It is used in food and pharmaceuticals
  • It is used in making plastics
  • It helps in the coagulation of protein in milk
  • It is used in textile dyeing and leather tanning
  • Lactate plays an important role in the healing of traumatic brain injuries
  • The release of norepinephrine in brain is signaled by lactate

Learn more about the structure and properties of C3H6O3 from the expert faculties at BYJU’S.

Practise This Question

Which of the following halogens doesn't exhibit positive oxidation state in its compounds?