A research team from National Taiwan Ocean University on Wednesday presented a lactic fermented drink that can be used as a stress-releasing food supplement.
Tsai Guo-jane (蔡國珍), a professor of food science, said the drink contains a high level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an amino acid that helps promote normal brain functioning by blocking stress-related messages from reaching receptor sites in the central nervous system.
In a project last year, the team sought to find a way of producing a fermented drink with a high GABA content because of the substance’s effectiveness in lowering blood pressure and reducing nervous tension, Tsai said. Animal trials have proven that the drink works as a natural sedative, she added.
The researchers made the drink using rice residue left over from the cultivation of a commercial fungus and lactic acid bacteria isolated from fish intestines, Tsai said.
She said the the fungus Cordyceps militaris — also known as caterpillar fungus — is grown on rice for commercial use, and the rice residue is normally dumped as waste after the fungus is harvested.
However, the team ground the rice residues with water before adding lactic acid bacteria from fish intestines, and two days of fermentation resulted in a GABA-rich drink, Tsai said.
When GABA-rich lactic acid bacteria are used in a beverage, it can supplement the amino acids that human bodies need, and hopefully the new drink can be used to make anti-depression food supplements, Tsai said.
The results will be officially released at the Bio Taiwan 2012 exhibition on Thursday next week.