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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2002 Dec;89(6 Suppl 1):16-20.

Stability of bovine allergens during food processing.

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University of Hamburg, Department of Chemistry, Section of Food Chemistry, Grindelallee 117, 20146 Hamburg, Germany.



The primary objective of this review was to summarize reported findings about the influence of various food manufacturing processes on the potential alteration of bovine allergens in cow's milk, beef, and related food products.


This review was based on literature research in two German databases.


The expert opinion of the authors was used to select the relevant data for the review.


Changes in allergenic activity during food processing are attributable to inactivation or destruction of epitope structures, formation of new epitopes, or improved access of previously hidden epitopes. The allergenic potency of food could be altered by several food manufacturing procedures--such as mechanical, purification, thermal, biochemical, and chemical processes. The main processing steps studied by investigators were heating (dry heating, boiling, or cooking) and enzymatic digestion. A review of the available literature on the alteration of bovine allergens in cow's milk, meat, and related food products revealed reduction (but not elimination) of allergenicity by heating of cow's milk for 10 minutes. Although homogenization did not change the allergenic potency of cow's milk, it decreased the allergenicity of beef, as did freeze-drying. Digestion studies showed varied results.


The allergenicity of some food products decreased during certain processing steps, but the results of other investigations differed. Therefore, more systematic research on the influence of food processing on allergenicity should be undertaken.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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