Influence of Innovative Processing on γ-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Contents in Plant Food Materials

Mahesha M. Poojary, Nicolò Dellarosa, Shahin Roohinejad, Mohamed Koubaa, Urszula Tylewicz, Federico Gómez Galindo, Jorge A. Saraiva, Marco Dalla Rosa, Francisco J. Barba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (SciVal)


Over the last several decades, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) has attracted much attention due to its diverse physiological implications in plants, animals, and microorganisms. GABA naturally occurs in plant materials and its concentrations may vary considerably, from traces up to μmol/g (dry basis) depending on plant matrix, germination stage, and processing conditions, among other factors. However, due to its important biological activities, considerable interest has been shown by both food and pharmaceutical industries to improve its concentration in plants. Natural and conventional treatments such as mechanical and cold stimulation, anoxia, germination, enzyme treatment, adding exogenous glutamic acid (Glu) or gibberellins, and bacterial fermentation have been shown effective to increase the GABA concentration in several plant materials. However, some of these treatments can modify the nutritional, organoleptic, and/or functional properties of plants. Recent consumer demand for food products which are "healthy," safe and, having added benefits (nutraceuticals/functional components) has led to explore new ways to improve the content of bioactive compounds while maintaining desirable organoleptic and physicochemical properties. Along this line, nonthermal processing technologies (such as high-pressure processing, pulsed electric fields, and ultrasound, among others) have been shown as means to induce the biosynthesis and accumulation of GABA in plant foods; and the main findings so far reported are presented in this review. Moreover, the most novel tools for the identification of metabolic response in plant materials based on GABA analysis will be also described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-905
JournalComprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
Issue number5
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Food Engineering


  • GABA
  • High-pressure processing
  • Metabolic response
  • Pulsed electric fields
  • Ultrasound


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