Allergenicity Assessment of Apple Cultivars: Hurdles in Quantifying Labile Fruit Allergens

L. Zuidmeer, W.A. van Leeuwen, I. Kleine Budde, H. Breiteneder, Y. Ma, C. Mills, A.I. Sancho, E.J. Meulenbroek, W.E. van de Weg, L.J.W.J. Gilissen, F. Ferreira, K. Hoffman-Sommergruber, R. van Ree

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)


    Assessment of allergenicity of foods is important for allergic consumers and regulators. Immunoassays to measure major food allergens are widely applied, often giving variable results. Using the major apple allergen Mal d 1 as a model, we aimed to establish at the molecular level why different immunoassays for assessing allergenicity of apple cultivars produce conflicting outcomes. Methods: Mal d 1 was measured in 53 cultivars from Italy and 35 from The Netherlands, using four different immunoassays. Purified Mal d 1 standards were molecularly characterized by size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) and mass spectrometry (MS). Results: Three immunoassays using an identical standard gave similar results. Minor differences in sample preparation already resulted in significant loss of allergenicity. The fourth assay, using a different Mal d 1 standard, gave 10- to 100-fold lower outcomes. By SEC, this standard was shown to be almost fully aggregated. This aggregation was accompanied by a decrease of the mass of the Mal d 1 molecule by ~1 kDa as analyzed by MS. The deviating immunoassay was shown to selectively recognize this aggregated form of Mal d 1, whereas the other three assays, including the one based on IgE antibody recognition, preferentially bound non-aggregated allergen. Conclusions: Variable and poorly controllable major allergen modification in both extracts and standards hamper accurate allergenicity assessments of fruits.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)230-240
    JournalInternational Archives of Allergy and Immunology
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • lipid transfer protein
    • birch pollen allergen
    • cross-reactive structures
    • controlled food challenge
    • in-vivo
    • major allergens
    • vegetable foods
    • messenger-rna
    • double-blind
    • ige-binding

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