Ranking of 10 legumes according to the prevalence of sensitization as a parameter to characterize allergenic proteins

Mark Smits*, Kitty Verhoeckx, André Knulst, Paco Welsing, Aard de Jong, Geert Houben, Thuy My Le

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Predicting the allergenicity of novel proteins is challenging due to the absence of validated predictive methods and a well-defined reference set of proteins. The prevalence of sensitization could be a parameter to select reference proteins to characterize allergenic proteins. This study investigated whether the prevalence of sensitization of legume extracts and proteins can indeed be used for this purpose. A random sample of suspected food-allergic patients (n=106) was therefore selected. 10 extracts (processed and non-processed) and 18 individual proteins (2S albumins, 7S and 11S globulins) from black lentil, blue and white lupine, chickpea, faba bean, green lentil, pea, peanut, soybean, and white bean were isolated and the prevalence of sensitization and the intensity of IgE binding were evaluated. The prevalence of sensitization ranged from 5.7 % (faba bean and green lentil) to 14.2 % (peanut). The prevalence of sensitization for individual legume proteins ranged from 0.0 % for albumin 1 (pea) to 15.1 %–17.9 % for Ara h 1, 2, 3, and 6 (peanut). The prevalence of sensitization correlated strongly with the intensity of IgE binding for individual proteins (p < 0.05, ρ = 0.894), for extracts no correlation was found. The discovered ranking can be used to select reference proteins for the development and validation of predictive in vitro or in vivo assays for the assessment of the sensitizing potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-773
Number of pages7
JournalToxicology Reports
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021


  • Allergenicity prediction
  • Allergens
  • Legumes
  • Prevalence of sensitization
  • Ranking of allergens


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