Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


FSU scientists develop new tests to detect nut allergens in processed food


Scientists at Florida State University subjected walnuts, cashew nuts and almonds to radiation, roasting, pressure cooking, blanching, frying and microwave heating in an effort to make them safe for allergy sufferers.

In the end, the nutritious little nuggets refused to surrender their allergens, but the research yielded sensitive techniques that detect minute traces of the nuts -- potentially fatal to allergic consumers -- in seemingly nut-free processed foods.

The study, "Impact of gamma-irradiation and thermal processing on the antigenicity of almond, cashew nut and walnut proteins," is published in the current edition of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. FSU’s Shridhar Sathe, the D.K. Salunkhe Professor of Food Science, and Kenneth Roux, a professor in the department of biological science, conducted the research with assistance from graduate students Mengna Su, Yanhong Wei and Mahesh Venkatachalam, and from Susan Teuber, an associate professor at University of California-Davis.

"Globally-popular almonds, walnuts and cashews are the tree nuts most often implicated in permanent and sometimes fatal food allergies, and currently there are no de-sensitizing treatments available," said Sathe. Vulnerable individuals must scrupulously avoid all contact with the offending tree nuts, an increasingly difficult feat since they are widely used in a variety of bakery, confectionery and snack foods.

"Improper food labeling and cross-contamination during commercial processing pose serious threats to sensitive consumers while often leading to expensive food recalls," Sathe said.

The researchers had previously identified the specific tree nut proteins relevant to human allergies. They then aimed, through irradiation alone or in combination with other thermal treatments, to induce changes in the protein structures to reduce or eliminate allergenicity and antigenicity. Yet the antigenicity of the tree nut proteins remained mostly unchanged throughout the irradiation and thermal processing, dashing hopes that the treatments would render the healthy snacks safer for wider consumption and more profitable for growers and industry.

However, the bad news in turn generated some very good news -- precisely because the irradiation and thermal procedures likely to be encountered during commercial processing did nothing to alter the tree nut protein antigenicity. Now lab tests originally used on unprocessed cashew nuts, almonds and walnuts to detect antigenic proteins could be reliably applied to detect minute traces in already-processed food products as well.

"Development of specific, robust, sensitive and reproducible assays for tree nut detection will help protect sensitive consumers who must rely upon accurate labeling, as well as food industry and regulatory agencies who monitor the presence of trace quantities in both food and feed," said Sathe. He cautioned that "continued and vigorous research is now urgently warranted" to expedite preparation of the techniques for commercial use.

Shridhar Sathe | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>