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Braz J Microbiol. 2012 Oct;43(4):1230-41. doi: 10.1590/S1517-83822012000400001. Epub 2012 Jun 1.

Production of gaba (γ - Aminobutyric acid) by microorganisms: a review.

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School of Biotechnology, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan , Gyeongbuk 712-749 , Republic of Korea.


GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) is a four carbon non-protein amino acid that is widely distributed in plants, animals and microorganisms. As a metabolic product of plants and microorganisms produced by the decarboxylation of glutamic acid, GABA functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that directly affects the personality and the stress management. A wide range of traditional foods produced by microbial fermentation contain GABA, in which GABA is safe and eco-friendly, and also has the possibility of providing new health-benefited products enriched with GABA. Synthesis of GABA is catalyzed by glutamate decarboxylase, therefore, the optimal fermentation condition is mainly based on the biochemical properties of the enzyme. Major GABA producing microorganisms are lactic acid bacteria (LAB), which make food spoilage pathogens unable to grow and act as probiotics in the gastrointestinal tract. The major factors affecting the production of GABA by microbial fermentation are temperature, pH, fermentation time and different media additives, therefore, these factors are summarized to provide the most up-dated information for effective GABA synthesis. There has been a huge accumulation of knowledge on GABA application for human health accompanying with a demand on natural GABA supply. Only the GABA production by microorganisms can fulfill the demand with GABA-enriched health beneficial foods.


GABA (γ -aminobutyric acid); GABA-enriched food.; lactic acid bacteria; microorganisms; optimal conditions

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