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Lactic Acid. An organic acid, CH3CHOHCOOH, that is derived from lactose (q.v.) when the latter is fermented (q.v.) by species of Lactobacilli , the lactic acid bacteria (q.v.). The acid exhibits an inhibiting effect on rope organisms (q.v.) and also acts as a bread improver (q.v.) by stimulating yeast (q.v.) growth. It is the predominant acid present in sour milk (q.v.).