Taipei, July 18 (CNA) A Taiwanese research team said Wednesday that it has developed a lactic fermented drink containing a high level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) that can be used as a stress-releasing food supplement.
Tsai Guo-jane, a professor of food science at National Taiwan Ocean University, said her research team successfully developed the drink in a project last year.
Researchers bred lactic acid bacteria enriched with GABA with rice residues of cordyceps militaris -- also known as caterpillar fungus -- and lactic acid bacteria isolated from intestines of fish, Tsai said.
GABA is an amino acid that helps promote normal brain function by blocking stress-related messages from reaching receptor sites in the central nervous system.
Tsai said the rice residues, on which cordyceps militaris is grown for commercial use, are normally dumped as waste after the fungus is harvested.
Based on the concept of recycling, the research team ground the used rice with water before adding lactic acid bacteria from fish intestines into the solution, she said, noting that two days of fermentation resulted in a GABA-rich lactic acid bacteria.
Due to GABA's ability to lower blood pressure and calm nervous tension, the team made a fermented drink with the GABA-rich lactic acid bacteria, Tsai said, adding animal trials have proven the new drink's function as a natural tranquilizer.
When GABA-rich lactic acid bacteria is used in a beverage, it can supplement the amino acids that human bodies need,”Tsai said.
In the future, she hopes that the drink can be used in the production of anti-depression food supplements, she added.
According to Tsai, the research team will formally release the research results at the Bio Taiwan 2012 exhibition on July 26.
(By Liu Li-jung and Elizabeth Hsu)