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The Seriousness Of Cashew Nut Allergies Revealed

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Peanut allergies are well-publicized but a new finding indicates that allergies to cashew nuts will probably be more serious for those who are allergic to this type of nut, in terms of the level needed to trigger anaphylaxis.

To assist with the study of cashew nut reactions, researchers have developed a method to purify the three main cashew allergens. This is to find out how allergic reactions are triggered. Scientists also hope that by studying how proteins cross react with other allergens, then this could lead to a means to treat the allergy.

To develop the method to select the allergens, Lab Manager notes the scientists used a combination of methods. These were: precipitation, ultrafiltration, and gel filtration chromatography. This allowed a sophisticated purification step to be achieved. From this, the researchers broke the captured proteins down into subunits.

Further study showed something interesting. The allergens react with the immune system but they do so in different ways in different countries. Testing has found a difference with how allergens bind to an immunoglobulin E with children from the Netherlands and those in the U.S. This suggests that geography and age are factors in relation to allergic reactions.

It is hoped the new method will allow further studies to be run that can lead to a way to suppress the allergic reaction.

The findings are published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The paper is titled ‘Purification and Characterization of Anacardium occidentale (Cashew) Allergens Ana o 1, Ana o 2, and Ana o 3.’

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.