Non-GMO solution to seafood allergies

February 25, 2007

Seafood allergy sufferers may soon be able to eat prawns without the fear of an adverse reaction. Chinese scientists have taken a promising step towards removing from prawns the proteins that cause an allergic response without resorting to genetic manipulation, reports Lisa Richards in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI.

Li Zhenxing led the research at the Ocean University of China. The team revealed that treating prawns with a combination of heat and irradiation significantly reduced the level of reactive proteins called allergens. They took blood from patients with shrimp allergies, added samples of treated and untreated prawn, and measured how antibodies in the blood reacted. They found that levels of 'Pen a 1', one of the major allergens, decreased 20-fold after treatment (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture DOI 10.1002/jsfa.2746).

Zhenxing's team suggests that irradiation damages the proteins, revealing hidden reactive amino acid residues. Subsequent heating then destroys the exposed residues. "Radiation and heat seems to be a promising method for reducing the immunoreactivity" say the researchers.

Samuel Lehrer of Tulane University in New Orleans, USA, is already working on removing allergens from prawns using genetic techniques. But Zhenxing's method could be preferable for people wary of eating genetically modified foods.
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About Chemistry & Industry
Chemistry & Industry magazine from SCI delivers news and comment from the interface between science and business. As well as covering industry and science, it focuses on developments that will be of significant commercial interest in five- to ten-years time. Published twice-monthly and free to SCI Members, it also carries authoritative features and reviews. Opinion-formers worldwide respect Chemistry & Industry for its independent insight.

About the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (JSFA) publishes peer-reviewed original research and critical reviews in these areas, with particular emphasis on interdisciplinary studies at the agriculture/food interface. This international journal covers fundamental and applied research.

JSFA is an SCI journal, published by John Wiley & Sons, on behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry, and is available in print (ISSN: 0022-5142) and online (ISSN: 1097-0010) via Wiley InterScience http://www.interscience.wiley.com For further information about the journal go to http://interscience.wiley.com/jsfa

About SCI
SCI is a unique international forum where science meets business on independent, impartial ground. Anyone can join, and the Society offers a chance to share information between sectors as diverse as food and agriculture, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, environmental science and safety. As well as publishing new research and running events, SCI has a growing database of member specialists who can give background information on a wide range of scientific issues. Originally established in 1881, SCI is a registered charity with members in over 70 countries.

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John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., based in Chichester, England, is the largest subsidiary of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. provides must-have content and services to customers worldwide. Their core businesses include scientific, technical, and medical journals, encyclopedias, books, and online products and services; professional and consumer books and subscription services; and educational materials for undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners. Wiley has publishing, marketing, and distribution centres in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbols JWa and JWb. Wiley's recently re-launched Internet site can be accessed at http://www.wileyeurope.com

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