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Potential Use of Cow Manure for Poly(Lactic Acid) Production

Cow manure is an abundant residue and poses a problem regarding recycling. Intensive animal farming produces manure, which, if not properly managed, can contaminate nearby water bodies and soils with nutrient excess. There are 1.9 billion cattle worldwide, with a calculated capacity to produce 7.6 billion tons per year. Feeding of these cows is carried out mainly with cellulosic material. Therefore, cow manure contains an important fraction of lignocellulose. Cow manure can be valorized using such lignocellulosic fractions as the raw material of several fermentative processes. This fraction can be transformed into sugar, which can, in turn, be used to feed lactic acid bacteria (LAB). LAB produces lactic acid (LA), which can later be polymerized to poly(lactic acid) (PLA), a bioplastic with promising market forecasts. This review describes the most updated processes for all of the necessary steps to produce lactic acid from lignocellulosic biomass with LAB. Key process parameters to obtain PLA from lignocellulose are reviewed and analyzed herein, including lignocellulosic fraction extraction, sugar transformation, pretreatment, hydrolysis, fermentation, purification, and polymerization. This review highlights the potentiality to obtain lignocellulose from cow manure, as well as its use to obtain PLA.

Publication date: 14/12/2022

Author: Ricard Garrido

Reference: doi: 10.3390/su142416753

MDPI (sustainability)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.