Interest in pyruvic acid has been growing due to the increase in its potential areas of use and its importance in metabolic reactions. These reasons along with the limitations on recovery have prompted researchers to consider novel recovery techniques. Reactive extraction has been proposed as a promising approach to the recovery of carboxylic acids. In this study, equilibrium and kinetic data were obtained for reactive extraction of pyruvic acid using trioctylamine (TOA) or Alamine 336 in 1-octanol or oleyl alcohol. The results showed that, without pH adjustment in the aqueous phase, and without the use of an extractant, 1-octanol extracted more pyruvic acid than oleyl alcohol with a distribution coefficient (K(D)) of 0.30. This trend remained the same when tertiary amines were used as an extractant. The K(D) values did not significantly differ with TOA or Alamine 336. The recovery of pyruvic acid was observed to increase as a function of TOA concentration and the stoichiometry of the reaction was mainly 1:1. As tertiary amines react only with undissociated acids, an increase in the initial pH of the aqueous phase lowered the KD values. When the pH was 4.0, the effect of TOA concentration on pyruvic acid extraction disappeared and for all concentration levels a distribution coefficient of 0.10 was obtained. Kinetic measurements showed that the reaction between pyruvic acid and TOA in 1-octanol is first order with respect to the two reactants with a rate constant of 0.94 L mol(-1) s(-1). The enhancement factor was calculated as 25.