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What is Gamma-aminobutyric acid

Gamma-aminobutyric acid is a compound with the chemical formula C₄H₉NO₂, also known as 4-aminobutyric acid (GABA for short). It is an amino acid that is widely present in vertebrates, plants and microorganisms.



In 1993, some scholars successfully developed GABA through chemical synthesis for the first time. Since then, related research has become more abundant. In order to obtain more GABA, researchers have started various attempts and obtained many results.

Chemical synthesis

The more important chemical synthesis is mainly as follows: The first is to use potassium phthalimide and γ-chlorobutyronitrile or butyrolactone as raw materials for making GABA, and the final product obtained after violent reaction and hydrolysis is GABA; The second is to use pyrrolidone as the initial raw material, and hydrolyze by calcium hydroxide and ammonium bicarbonate, and the final ring-opening product is GABA; the third is to use butyric acid and ammonia as the raw material of GABA. GABA is obtained by light reaction under γ-ray conditions; the fourth method is to synthesize GABA by using propylamine and formic acid by the method of glow discharge; the fifth method is to prepare GABA by using methyl bromoacetate and ethylene The raw material is obtained by polymerization to obtain methyl 4-bromobutyrate, and the final product after ammonolysis and hydrolysis is GABA. The chemical synthesis methods of GABA have the disadvantages that the reaction is not easy to control and the cost is relatively high.

Plant enrichment

Plant enrichment method is a newly developed synthetic extraction and purification technology. It uses plants with higher GABA content for separation and extraction, so that cheap and high-purity GABA products are available. There are two main methods for obtaining GABA from plants: one is the purification method by solvent extraction, and the other is the preparation method by column separation.

(1) Solvent extraction method

The solvent extraction method uses water or alcohol as the extractant of GABA. GABA is extracted into water or alcohol according to the solubility of plants in water or alcohol and the principle of different partition coefficients, and after repeated filtration and purification, the plants can be eliminated. Most of the GABA is extracted.

(2) Column separation preparation method

Column separation preparation method, also called column chromatography, is a principle that uses the components in different mixtures to have different partition coefficients in the solid-liquid two phases for elution separation and other subsequent operations. Its major classification should be Attributed to chromatography. Chromatographic columns generally use resin, silica gel or activated carbon as packing materials.


Microbial fermentation

The microbial fermentation method is to select excellent, stable, non-toxic and harmless strains, and use these strains to prepare and produce GABA during the process of growth and reproduction. Although this method has strict environmental requirements and high equipment requirements, the GABA produced by this method can be used as a natural food additive. The use of microbial fermentation production is one of the earliest developed and most extensive production methods in the food industry. The first microorganism used is Escherichia coli, and its decarboxylase can be used to produce GABA. However, due to its inherent safety hazards, it has been It cannot be used directly in the production of medicines or food.

With the development of science and technology, people pay more and more attention to green food. Later, researchers discovered that microorganisms such as lactic acid bacteria, yeasts, and Aspergillus can be used to replace E. coli to catalyze the production of GABA. Moreover, under the condition of lower cost, it also has the advantages of high output and good safety. This method has gradually developed to industrial production.


Physical and chemical properties

γ-aminobutyric acid, also known as 4-aminobutyric acid (GABA for short), is an amino acid with chemical formula: H2NCH2CH2CH2COOH; molecular weight: 103.1. GABA is in the form of white crystalline powder and has no optical activity. Melting point 195-204°C (decomposition), miscible with water, slightly soluble in ethanol and acetone, insoluble in benzene and ether, and will lose water when decomposed to produce pyrrolidone.

GABA often exists in the form of zwitterions (negatively charged carboxyl groups and positively charged amino groups) in solution. Due to the electrostatic interaction between positive and negative charged groups, GABA can have both gaseous (folded state) and solid state in solution. The molecular conformation in the (stretched state), and the coexistence of multiple molecular conformations of GABA in solution enables it to bind to a variety of receptor proteins and perform a variety of important physiological functions.


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