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Formation of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) during the natural lactic acid fermentation of cucumber

Jennifer Fideler Moore, Rachel DuVivier, Suzanne D. Johanningsmeier
Journal of food composition and analysis 2021 v.96 pp. 103711
acidification, brine solutions, brining, cucumbers, fermented vegetables, gamma-aminobutyric acid, lactic fermentation, pickled vegetables, pickles, pickling, salt content, sodium chloride
This study investigated γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) formation during natural lactic acid fermentation of cucumbers. Two lots of cucumbers were fermented or acidified in duplicate in 4 % sodium chloride (NaCl) brine and analyzed for GABA content over 6 months storage. GABA was present in fresh and acidified pickling cucumbers at 0.83 ± 0.16 mM and 0.56 ± 0.30 mM, respectively. Additional GABA was generated in fermented cucumbers (1.21 ± 0.35 mM) and remained stable over time and during further processing. Brine salt content (2 % - 6 %) affected GABA formation with greatest GABA formation in cucumber brined in 2 % NaCl (1.38 ± 0.31 mM). Commercially available, fermented cucumber pickles packed in their original fermentation brines contained more GABA (1.32 ± 0.25 mM) than acidified (0.46 ± 0.26 mM) or fermented, desalted and re-packed products (0.49 ± 0.32 mM). This work demonstrated that low-salt fermentation enhances GABA content in fermented cucumber products prepared for direct consumption.