The impact of processing on allergenicity of food

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Purpose of review

Processing procedures and food structure may modulate the allergenic properties of foods. However, our lack of knowledge on this topic makes it difficult to both predict and minimize the impact of processing on allergenicity of foods and provide allergic patients with appropriate advice over what is safe to eat.

Recent findings

New data on the major birch pollen allergen, Bet v 1, show it is thermostable, whereas their complex interactions with lipids either enhancing or reducing its stability. Studies of cereal allergies have shown allergenic disulphide-bonded prolamin superfamily members (lipid transfer proteins, α-amylase inhibitors) are resistant to cooking although species differences in maize and wheat lipid transfer proteins have been identified. Novel methods are being sought to mitigate the allergenicity of foods using enzymes like transglutaminase and treatments with phytochemicals such as phytate.


Further research is needed to explain the subtle differences in the susceptibility of processing on the allergenic potential of Bet v 1 homologues in apple and celeriac and lipid transfer proteins from different cereals. The efficacy of new processing strategies in reducing food allergenicity needs to be demonstrated in allergic individuals. Studies are still lacking on the effect of the food matrix on allergenicity, and the impact of processing on sensitization potential.

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