Alanine (symbol Ala or A) is an α-amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. It contains an α-amino group (which is in the protonated form, −NH3+, under biological conditions), an α-carboxylic acid group (which is in the deprotonated form, −COO−, under biological conditions), and a side chain methyl group, making it a nonpolar, aliphatic amino acid. It is non-essential in humans: because the body can synthesize it, it does not need to be present in the diet. It is one of the 20 amino acids encoded by the human genetic code, and is encoded by all codons starting with GC, namely GCU, GCC, GCA, and GCG.
Functions and Applications
1. It is mainly used as nutritional supplement and flavoring in food processing industry. It can also be used in the medical industry.
2. It has a good freshness and can promote the effects of chemical flavorings;
3. It has a peculiar sweetness and can improve the taste of the artificial sweeteners, improve the sourness of organic acids and the flavor of vinegar;
4. Its sourness may help salt enter vegetables, improve the quality of salted or sauce-pickled vegetables, cut short the pickling duration and improve the flavor;
5. It can be used as a corrector or buffer in the composition of wine or soft beverage, can prevent bubble wine from ageing and can decrease the odor of yeast;