Genetically modified microorganisms having the ability to produce D(-)-lactic acid at temperatures between 30.degree. C. and 55.degree. C. are provided. In various embodiments, the microorganisms may have the chromosomal lactate dehydrogenase (ldh) gene and/or the chromosomal acetolactate synthase (alsS) gene inactivated. Exemplary microorganisms for use in the disclosed methods are Bacillus spp., such as Bacillus coagulans.