Abstract Acid tolerance of Lactobacillus pentosus ATCC 8041 was improved by error-prone amplification of its genomic DNA using random primers and Taq DNA polymerase. The resulting amplification products were transferred into wild-type L. pentosus by electroporation and the transformants were screened for growth on low-pH agar plates. After only one round of mutation, one mutant (MT3) was identified that was able to completely consume 20g/L of glucose to produce lactic acid at a yield of 95% in 1L MRS medium at pH 3.8 within 36h, whereas no growth or lactic acid production was observed for the wild-type strain under the same conditions. The acid tolerance of mutant MT3 remained genetically stable for at least 25 subcultures. Therefore, the error-prone whole genome amplification technique is a very powerful tool for improving phenotypes of this lactic acid bacterium and may also be applicable for other microorganisms.