Product Profile Poly (lactic acid) or polylactide (PLA) is thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch (in the United States), tapioca products (roots, chips or starch mostly in Asia) or sugarcanes (in the rest of world). It can biodegrade under certain conditions, such as the presence of oxygen, and is difficult to recycle. PLA is considered both as biodegradable (e.g. adapted for short-term packaging) and as biocompatible in contact with living tissues (e.g. for biomedical applications such as implants, sutures, drug encapsulation, etc.). Product characteristics PLA has reasonably good optical, physical, mechanical, and barrier properties compared to existing petroleumÂbased polymers. The permeability coefficients of CO2, O2, N2 and H2O for PLA are lower than for polystyrene (PS), but higher than poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), The barrier properties of PLA against organic permeants such as ethylacetate and dÂlimonene, are comparable to PET. Un-oriented PLA is quite brittle, but possesses good strength and stiffness, oriented PLA provides better performance than oriented PS, but comparable to PET compared to high density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP) and PS. Tensile and flexural moduli of PLA are higher. Applications PLA is currently used in a number of biomedical applications, such as sutures, stents, dialysis media and drug delivery devices. The total degradation time of PLA is a few years. It is also being evaluated as a material for tissue engineering. PLA is a sustainable alternative to petrochemical-derived products, since the lactides from which it is ultimately produced can be derived from the fermentation of agricultural by-products such as corn starch or other carbohydrate-rich substances like maize, sugar or wheat. Being biodegradable, PLA can be employed in the preparation of bioplastic and is useful for production of the Loose-fill packaging, drinking cups, salad cups, overwrap compost bags, food packaging, food trays, lunch boxes, packaging for instant foods, trash bags, plastic bags for shopping, lamination films and blister packages. Market scenario Due to increasing awareness for the usage of recyclable packaging and the entry of multinational retail enterprises, the demand would grow for PLA based plastics in India. Global lactic acid & polylactic acid (PLA) market is growing at a CAGR of 18.7% and is expected to reach US$3831.3 mln by 2016. The global Poly Lactic Acid market was estimated to be worth US$1194 mln in 2010. Packaging is the largest application market for PLA, accounting for 60% of the overall market in 2010. Europe and North America are the biggest markets for PLA; whereas Asia-Pacific is one of the fastest growing markets. Present global installed capacity is 148,200 metric tonnes per annum.