Recent advances in γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) properties in pulses: An overview
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Beans, peas, and lentils are all types of pulses that are extensively used as foods around the world due to their beneficial effects on human health including their low glycemic index, cholesterol lowering effects, ability to decrease the risk of heart diseases and their protective effects against some cancers. These health benefits are a result of their components such as bioactive proteins, dietary fibers, slowly digested starches, minerals and vitamins, and bioactive compounds. Among these bioactive compounds, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a non-proteinogenic amino acid with numerous reported health benefits (e.g. anti-diabetic and hypotensive effects, depression and anxiety reduction) is of particular interest. GABA is primarily synthesized in plant tissues by the decarboxylation of L-glutamic acid in the presence of glutamate decarboxylase (GAD). It is widely reported that during various processes including enzymatic treatment, gaseous treatment (e.g. with carbon dioxide), and fermentation (with lactic acid bacteria), GABA content increases in the plant matrix. The objective of this review paper is to highlight the current state of knowledge on the occurrence of GABA in pulses with special focus on mechanisms by which GABA levels are increased and the analytical extraction and estimation methods for this bioactive phytochemical.
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