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J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Nov 20;50(24):7154-60.

Digestibility of food allergens and nonallergenic proteins in simulated gastric fluid and simulated intestinal fluid-a comparative study.

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U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Illinois Institute of Technology, National Center for Food Safety and Technology, Summit-Argo, Illinois 60501, USA.


Information on the comparative digestibility of food allergens and nonallergenic proteins is crucial when stability to digestion is to be used as a criterion to assess the allergenic potential of novel proteins. In this work, we compared the digestive stability of a number of food allergens and proteins of unproven allergenicity and examined whether allergens possess a higher stability than nonallergenic proteins of similar cellular functions, and whether there is a correlation between protein digestibility and allergenicity. The stability of groups of storage proteins, plant lectins, contractile proteins, and enzymes, both allergens and proteins with unproven allergenicity, in a standard simulated gastric fluid and a standard simulated intestinal fluid was measured. Food allergens were not necessarily more resistant to digestion than nonallergenic proteins. There was not a clear relationship between digestibility measured in vitro and protein allergenicity.

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