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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2000 Nov;106(5):962-7.

Influence of refining steps on trace allergenic protein content in sunflower oil.

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Laboratoire de Biochimie Médicale et Pédiatrique, Faculté de Médecine (U 308), Nancy, France.



Although allergy to sunflower seed and oil is a relatively rare occurrence, several cases of sunflower seed allergy have been observed, and we have already described one case of anaphylaxis after eating sunflower oil and margarine.


The aim of our study was to determine and characterize the allergens from sunflower oil at the different steps of the refining process: crude pressed oil (step A), acidification and neutralization (step B), pregumming by centrifugation (step C), washing (step D), bleaching (step E), gumming by filtration (step F), and deodorization (step G).


A sample of oil from each step of the process (steps A to G) was heat extracted with PBS. The protein concentration of each extract was evaluated by using the micro-Bradford assay. Samples were run on SDS-PAGE. The immunoblot was performed with the serum of a patient sensitized to sunflower seed and oil.


The extracts obtained after each step reveal a decrease in total protein concentration from 13.6 microg/mL to 0. 22 microg/mL. The result of SDS-PAGE shows 5 bands, from 67 kd to 145 kd, with the most abundant being the 67-kd protein. The amount of this protein decreases after each step of the process. It is, however, still present in trace amounts in the refined oil. The 67-kd protein, which is mainly present in the crude oil and slightly in the refined oil, has been shown to be allergenic.


Because of the presence of allergenic proteins, refined sunflower oil may pose a threat to people highly sensitized to sunflower seeds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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