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Allergy. 2002 Oct;57(10):943-5.

IgE-mediated allergy to phytase -- a new animal feed additive.

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Zentralinstitut für Arbeitsmedizin, Institute for Occupational Medicine, Hamburg, Germany.



Although fungal phytase is frequently used as an additive to animal feed few investigations of its allergenic property have been conducted.


Fifty-three subjects occupationally exposed to powdered phytase from Aspergillus niger were studied. Exposure data and symptoms were registered by the company physician.


Thirty-eight subjects complained of work-related respiratory symptoms and 14 of them showed phytase-specific IgE antibodies; only one asymptomatic subject revealed such antibodies. IgE antibodies were significantly more frequently found in the high-exposure group (technical centre) when compared with the low-exposure group (laboratories, experimental animal husbandry). Phytase-specific IgG antibodies were present in 19 symptomatic (50%) and five (33%) asymptomatic subjects.


Our results demonstrate that powdered fungal phytase is a highly sensitizing substance whose inhalation exposure should be avoided. Hypersensitivity symptoms could be prevented by means of extensive hygienic measures and ongoing medical surveillance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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