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 Correct connections are crucial
26.06.2017 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>