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 Fast-tracking T cell therapies with immune-mimicking biomaterials
16.01.2018 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht Dengue takes low and slow approach to replication
12.01.2018 | Duke University

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: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

White graphene makes ceramics multifunctional

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Breaking bad metals with neutrons

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

ISFH-CalTeC is “designated test centre” for the confirmation of solar cell world records

16.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>