Glyceric acid (GA) is an oxidative product of glycerol, and its d-isomer is obtained as a phytochemical from tobacco leaves and fruits of some plants. However, the production and applications of GA have not yet been fully investigated. In this review, recent developments in the microbial production of GA and its application to bio-related materials are summarized. The sodium salt of diacylated GA showed superior surface tension-lowering activity and antitrypsin activity. GA and its glucosyl derivative had positive effects on the viability and collagen production of skin cells in vitro, respectively. Glucosyl derivatives of GA showed protective effects against heat-induced protein aggregation. In addition, the microbial production of GA using raw glycerol as the starting material was investigated. The effect of methanol, a major impurity in raw glycerol, on GA production was investigated, and mutant strains to tolerate methanol in the culture were constructed. Enantioselective production of GA using newly isolated microbial strains has also been developed.
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