Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The chemistry of strawberry allergy

21.06.2005


Not everyone can enjoy the fresh strawberries in summer. Some experience an allergic reaction with itching and swelling in mouth and throat. Biochemists at Lund University have identified a strawberry allergen among the thousands of proteins in a strawberry. Screening is now performed to find strawberries with no or little of the allergen protein. Sofar, a colourless, ’white’ strawberry variety has been found to be virtually free from the allergen.

The allergen was identified using blood sera from patients experiencing adverse reactions to strawberry. The protein then discovered turned out to be a not completely unknown one. "This protein resembles a previously known allergen in birch pollen," says Cecilia Emanuelsson at the Dept of Biochemistry. A primary allergy against birch pollen can in turn evoke secondary allergic reactions against berries, fruit and some vegetables. That does not necessarily mean that all birch pollen allergic individuals react against strawberries. But some do; and some face the risk of developing such secondary adverse reactions. Birch-pollen related food allergy is a well-known phenomenon and especially common in Northern Europe, but the actual number of persons affected today is difficult to estimate.

There are some observations among breeders that allergic individuals can eat a white strawberry variety without problems. When the research group in Lund investigated such a white strawberry they found that it contained very little of the strawberry allergen. In Sweden breeders have worked for some time with breeding to improve the quality of white strawberries to become as tasty as the red ones. Some plant shops occasionally provide plants of white strawberry. "The allergen is in some way or other related to the red colour but it is not clear exactly how, we need to investigate more proteins," says Rikard Alm.



He is specialized in bioinformatics, which helps to systematize and analyze the large datasets generated by today’s laboratory techniques. With so called proteomics it is now possible to find, investigate and compare the allergen with thousands of other proteins. "We are now investigating the biological variation of the strawberry allergen, between different strawberry varieties, and within one and the same variety depending on cultivation conditions," says Rikard Alm.

The development of proteomics has accelerated due to partly classic techniques such as electrophoresis, where proteins are separated in an electric field and ending up in various places in a gel, and mass spectrometry. That large and complicated proteins can be analysed by mass spectrometry is new; and was awarded the Nobel prize in 2002. "The gel with the separated proteins is like a map, and it actually opens up new possibilities for plant breeding. By comparing e.g. strawberries with different properties and their maps with each other we may be able to discover which role different proteins play for e.g. frost resistance, colour, taste etc; and find biomarkers for different traits," says Cecilia Emanuelsson.

The investigations on strawberry allergen was performed in collaboration with SIK (the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology) in Gothenburg; with the Swegene centra for proteomics and bioinformatics at Lund University, and with specialists in protein mass spectrometry at the university in Odense. The project is financed by FORMAS, the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning.

Cecilia Emanuelsson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.biokem.lu.se
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania

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: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

127 at one blow...

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Brain-Computer Interface: What if computers could intuitively understand us

18.01.2017 | Information Technology

How gut bacteria can make us ill

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>