Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 141–148 | Cite as

Accumulation of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the halotolerant cyanobacterium Aphanothece halophytica under salt and acid stress

  • Bongkoj Boonburapong
  • Surasak Laloknam
  • Aran IncharoensakdiEmail author


γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is known as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in human, while in plants, GABA is an intermediate for amino acid metabolism and also is accumulated in response to a wide range of environmental stress. In the present study, GABA accumulation in Aphanothece halophytica was increased 2-fold in mid-log phase cells grown under salt stress (2.0 M NaCl). When mid-log phase cells were subjected to changes in NaCl concentrations and pH for 4 h, the highest GABA accumulation was observed in cells adapted in medium that contained 2.0 M NaCl and that was adjusted to pH 4.0, respectively. The increase of GABA accumulation was accompanied by an increased glutamate decarboxylase activity. Addition of glutamate to growth medium stimulated GABA accumulation under acid stress but had no effect under salt stress. However, the highest GABA accumulation was detected in cells exposed to both high salt and acid stresses combined with the 5 mM glutamate supplementation with an approximately 3-fold increase as compared to the control. The unicellular A. halophytica showed a similarly high content of GABA to that of a filamentous Arthrospira platensis suggesting the possibility of genetic manipulation of the genes of A. halophytica involved in GABA synthesis to increase GABA yield.


GABA Glutamate decarboxylase Halotolerant cyanobacterium Salt stress and acid stress 



This work was supported by the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC), Thailand, through a grant in the program “Strategic Scholarships for Frontier Research Network for the Ph.D. program, Thai Doctoral degree,” the 90th Anniversary of Chulalongkorn University Ratchadaphiseksomphot Endowment Fund for a Ph.D. scholarship (to BB), and the National Research University project (WCU-013-FW-57) from OHEC (to AI).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bongkoj Boonburapong
    • 1
  • Surasak Laloknam
    • 2
    • 3
  • Aran Incharoensakdi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Cyanobacterial Biotechnology, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of ScienceChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Department of General Science, Faculty of ScienceSrinakharinwirot UniversityBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Research Unit on Science Technology and Environment for Learning, Faculty of ScienceSrinakharinwirot UniversityBangkokThailand

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