Submitted to: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 26, 2004
Publication Date: January 26, 2005
Citation: Chung, S., Champagne, E.T. 2004. Determination of polyamines in peanuts and their role in peanut allergenicity. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 85:(6)990-994. Interpretive Summary: Polyamines such as putrescine, spermidine, and spermine are nitrogen-containing compounds widely distributed in plants, microorganisms, and animal tissues. Ingestion of these compounds in sufficient amounts has been implicated in the protection of infants against developing food allergies. However, one study conducted in the laboratory indicated that polyamines were allergenic because they bound to antibodies called IgE that are involved in allergic reactions. Our objectives were to determine if polyamines exist in peanuts, and if they bind to IgE antibodies from the sera of peanut-allergic patients. Results showed that peanuts contained polyamines, and of the three, spermidine exhibited the highest level, followed by spermine and putrescine. Binding analyses indicated that polyamines did not bind to IgE antibodies from peanut-allergic patients. We concluded that polyamines, unlike peanut proteins, are not allergenic or an additional threat to peanut-allergic patients. This finding may help support future studies to further prove that polyamines may be beneficial in protecting infants against food allergies. If beneficial, industry will benefit by having a means (adding polyamines) to produce infant formulas and foods that may protect the infant from developing food allergies.
Technical Abstract: Ingestion of polyamines such as putrescine, spermidine, and spermine has been implicated in the prevention of food allergies in early life. Polyamines have also been reported to be able to bind in vitro to immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, indicating that they may be allergenic. The objectives of this study were to measure the levels of polyamines in peanuts, and determine if the polyamines bind in vitro to IgE antibodies from patients who are allergic to peanuts. Polyamines were separated and measured using ion-exchange chromatography. Binding of polyamines to IgE antibodies from a pooled serum of peanut-allergic patients was determined in a competitive enzyme immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Results showed that levels of putrescine and spermine decreased during curing of peanuts while the level of spermidine increased. Overall, peanuts have the highest level of spermidine (92 µg/g dry defatted meal), followed by spermine (21 µg/g), and putrescine (4 µg/g). In ELISA, IgE antibodies from peanut-allergic patients did not bind to putrescine, spermidine, or spermine. It was concluded that polyamines, unlike peanut proteins, are not allergenic or an additional threat to patients who are allergic to peanuts.