We herein present a study on the application of homogeneous catalysts in the form of metal salts on the conversion of trioses, such as dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and glyceraldehyde (GLY) to lactic acid (LA) in water. A wide range of metal salts (26 in total) were examined. Al(III) salts were identified as the most promising and essentially quantitative LA yields (> 90 mol%) were obtained at 140 degrees C and a reaction time of 90 min. A reaction pathway is proposed and a kinetic model using the power law approach was developed for the conversion of DHA to LA with pyruvaldehyde (PRV) as the intermediate. Good agreement between experimental data and the model was obtained. Model predictions, supported by experiments, indicate that a high yield of LA is favoured in dilute solutions of DHA (0.1 M) at elevated temperatures (180 degrees C) and reaction times less than 10 min.