Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Making cashews safer for those with allergies


Date:
August 11, 2014
Source:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Summary:
For the millions of adults and children in the U.S. who have to shun nuts to avoid an allergic reaction, help could be on the way. Scientists are now developing a way to process cashews — and potentially other nuts — that could make them safer for people who are allergic to them.

For the millions of adults and children in the U.S. who have to shun nuts to avoid an allergic reaction, help could be on the way. Scientists are now developing a method to process cashews -- and potentially other nuts -- that could make them safer to eat for people who are allergic to them.

The researchers are presenting their work at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Fransisco.

"The only widely accepted practice for preventing an allergic reaction to nuts is strict avoidance -- stay away from the food," notes Chris Mattison, Ph.D. "Clinical trials to test immunotherapy are underway, but we're approaching it from an agricultural perspective rather than medical. Can we change the food, instead of treating the person, so we can eliminate or reduce severe reactions?"

For those with food allergies, responses to offending products can range from mild itching in the mouth or skin to life-threatening anaphylaxis, which makes it hard to breathe. Once every three minutes, someone in the U.S. ends up in the emergency room due to a food allergy reaction -- that adds up to about 200,000 visits a year.

To try to reduce those numbers, Mattison's team is looking at ways to modify proteins in tree nuts and peanuts (which are legumes) that trigger an immune response in people who are allergic. The response is launched by antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE), which recognize and latch onto the proteins. Mattison explains that changing the shape of the proteins makes it harder for IgE to find them.

But past research taking this approach has involved harsh chemicals. Mattison, a researcher with the Agricultural Research Service branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wanted to see if his team could achieve the same results, but using compounds that are "generally regarded as safe," or GRAS. These are substances that are accepted by the Food and Drug Administration for use in food and pharmaceuticals.

"We found that the GRAS compound sodium sulfite can effectively disrupt the structure of a couple of the cashew allergens," Mattison says. "And we've done a couple of different tests to show we reduced IgE binding to the proteins when they've been treated with sodium sulfite."

Next, they plan to conduct experiments on whole nuts and test the modified proteins on cells in the lab to see how they respond. They're also looking at enzymes, which are molecules that can cut up proteins, as candidates to disrupt the allergens.

And, although this particular report focuses on cashew proteins, Mattison says the work could have broader implications. The kinds of allergenic proteins the GRAS compound and enzymes affect are not exclusive to one kind of nut.

"One of our goals is to apply our knowledge from the cashew experiments to other tree nuts and to peanuts," he says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society (ACS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society (ACS). "Making cashews safer for those with allergies
." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811124336.htm>.
American Chemical Society (ACS). (2014, August 11). Making cashews safer for those with allergies
. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811124336.htm
American Chemical Society (ACS). "Making cashews safer for those with allergies
." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811124336.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins