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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Genetics and Breeding Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #254476

Title: Mitigating allergenicity of crops

item OZIAS-AKINS, PEGGY - University Of Georgia
item CHU, YE - University Of Georgia
item Knoll, Joseph - Joe
item BHATTACHARYA, ANJANABHA - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: Advances in Agronomy
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2010
Publication Date: 7/14/2010
Citation: Ozias-Akins, P., Chu, Y., Knoll, J.E., Bhattacharya, A. 2010. Mitigating allergenicity of crops. Advances in Agronomy. Vol. 107, pp. 93-121.

Interpretive Summary: Allergic reactions to foods can cause severe illness, or in some cases can even be fatal. For those affected by food allergies, avoidance of specific foods is the best strategy for prevention of adverse reactions, but for foods like soybean which are commonly found in processed foods, this can be very difficult. This review describes the major classes of allergenic proteins found within food crops. Strategies for reducing or eliminating these allergens from crops are then described, citing specific examples. Some naturally-occurring variation in allergen content has been reported, but most of the known allergen variants were developed by mutagenesis. Mutations may be induced using either radiation or chemicals. Molecular techniques are then used to identify allergen variants within mutant populations. Finally, genetic transformation (genetic engineering) strategies are described for reducing or eliminating specific allergens. As many allergen proteins perform important functions within the plant, genetic transformation is a useful tool for studying these effects, to determine which proteins can be eliminated.

Technical Abstract: Reducing the allergenicity of edible crops may be feasible to some extent through genetic means. Allergenicity of different crops varies widely, and consumed components may present multiple allergenic proteins, some of which play essential roles in growth and development of the plant or seeds. Identifying spontaneous or induced mutations in genes for allergenic proteins is facilitated by technological advancements in DNA sequence analysis and proteomics. Furthermore, genetic engineering provides strategies for altering gene expression to study the effects of allergen reduction. In this review, allergens of most concern from major crops within the “Big 8” allergen group are described and approaches for mitigation of allergenicity in these crops are presented.