An overview of bioprocesses employing specifically selected microbial catalysts for γ-aminobutyric acid production

Dahiya, Divakar, Manuel, Jemima V. and Nigam, Poonam Singh (2021) An overview of bioprocesses employing specifically selected microbial catalysts for γ-aminobutyric acid production. Microorganisms, 9 (12). pp. 1-16. ISSN 2076-2607


Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an important chemical compound in the human brain. GABA acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter by inducing hyperpolarization of cellular membranes. Usually, this pharmaceutically important compound is synthesized using a chemical process, but in this short overview we have only analysed microbial processes, which have been studied for the biosynthesis of this commercially important compound. The content of this article includes the following summarised information: the search for biological processes showed a number of lactic acid bacteria and certain species of fungi, which could be effectively used for the production of GABA. Strains found to possess GABA-producing pathways include Lactobacillus brevis CRL 1942, L. plantarum FNCC 260, Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus Y2, Bifidobacterium strains, Monascus spp., and Rhizopus spp. Each of these strains required specific growth conditions. However, several factors were common among these strains, such as the use of two main supplements in their fermentation medium—monosodium glutamate and pyridoxal phosphate—and maintaining an acidic pH. Optimization studies of GABA production were comprised of altering the media constituents, modifying growth conditions, types of cultivation system, and genetic manipulation. Some strains increased the production of GABA under anaerobic conditions. Genetic manipulation focused on silencing some genes or overexpression of gadB and gadC. The conclusion, based on the review of information available in published research, is that the targeted manipulation of selected microorganisms, as well as the culture conditions for an optimised bioprocess, should be adopted for an increased production of GABA to meet its increasing demand for food and pharmaceutical applications.

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