Allergy potential of strawberries and tomatoes depends on the variety

July 13, 2018

The incidence of food allergies has increased in recent decades: It affects three to four percent of the adult population and five percent of children. Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) can cause allergic reactions due to the presence of various allergenic proteins. Of particular note are proteins that resemble the primary allergen in birch pollen and due to this similarity can lead to birch pollen-associated food allergy. About 1.5 percent of the population in Northern Europe and up to 16 percent in Italy are affected by tomato allergies. And around 30 percent of those who are allergic to birch pollen also report allergenic reactions to strawberry fruits.

Symptoms of an immunological reaction to strawberries or tomatoes can affect the skin (urticaria or dermatitis), irritate mucous membranes and trigger a runny nose, and can also lead to abdominal pain. Food allergy sufferers develop symptoms after eating fresh fruit or vegetables, while processed products are often tolerated.

Previous studies have found that there are several proteins in both strawberries and tomatoes, which can cause allergic reactions. The aim of the two recently published studies was to quantify an important allergenic protein in the various strawberry and tomato varieties. In order to analyze a broad spectrum, varieties were selected in both cases, which differed in size, shape, and color. Furthermore, the influence of organic and conventional cultivation conditions as well as various processing methods ranging from sun-drying and oven-drying to freeze-drying of the fruits, were investigated. It was assumed that the concentration of the allergenic protein varies with the color of the ripe fruit, the state of growth, and the processing method.

The specific variety makes all the difference

Twenty-three different-colored tomato varieties and 20 strawberry varieties of different sizes and shapes were examined to analyze the genetic factor for the expression of the allergenic protein in the fruits.

The concentration of the allergen in both types of fruit varied greatly between varieties. In addition, the heat sensitivity of the proteins could be confirmed: If the fruits were exposed to heat during the drying process, their allergy potential was lower. However, the influence of cultivation conditions (conventional and ecological) on the allergy content was minor.

Consequently, the proteins investigated in the studies (Sola l 4.02 in tomatoes and Fra a 1 protein in strawberries) may in future serve as markers for the cultivation of hypoallergenic tomato and strawberry varieties.
-end-
Publications:

Kurze, Elisabeth, Lo Scalzo, Roberto, Campanelli, Gabriele; Schwab, Wilfried. Effect of tomato variety, cultivation, climate and processing on Sola l 4, an allergen from Solanum lycopersicum. PLOS ONE 2018. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197971.

Kurze, Elisabeth; Kock, Vanessa; Lo Scalzo, Roberto; Olbricht, Klaus and Schwab, Wilfried: Effect of the strawberry genotype, cultivation and processing on the Fra a 1 allergen content, Nutrients 2018 10, 857. DOI: 10.3390/nu10070857.

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Wilfried Schwab
Technical University of Munich
Chair of Biotechnology of Natural Products
Phone: +49 8161 71 2912
Mail: wilfried.schwab@tum.de

Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Related Proteins Articles from Brightsurf:

New understanding of how proteins operate
A ground-breaking discovery by Centenary Institute scientists has provided new understanding as to the nature of proteins and how they exist and operate in the human body.

Finding a handle to bag the right proteins
A method that lights up tags attached to selected proteins can help to purify the proteins from a mixed protein pool.

Designing vaccines from artificial proteins
EPFL scientists have developed a new computational approach to create artificial proteins, which showed promising results in vivo as functional vaccines.

New method to monitor Alzheimer's proteins
IBS-CINAP research team has reported a new method to identify the aggregation state of amyloid beta (Aβ) proteins in solution.

Composing new proteins with artificial intelligence
Scientists have long studied how to improve proteins or design new ones.

Hero proteins are here to save other proteins
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have discovered a new group of proteins, remarkable for their unusual shape and abilities to protect against protein clumps associated with neurodegenerative diseases in lab experiments.

Designer proteins
David Baker, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Washington to speak at the AAAS 2020 session, 'Synthetic Biology: Digital Design of Living Systems.' Prof.

Gone fishin' -- for proteins
Casting lines into human cells to snag proteins, a team of Montreal researchers has solved a 20-year-old mystery of cell biology.

Coupled proteins
Researchers from Heidelberg University and Sendai University in Japan used new biotechnological methods to study how human cells react to and further process external signals.

Understanding the power of honey through its proteins
Honey is a culinary staple that can be found in kitchens around the world.

Read More: Proteins News and Proteins Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.