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Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1990 Mar 31;120(13):446-50.

[Baking ingredients, especially alpha-amylase, as occupational inhalation allergens in the baking industry].

[Article in German]

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Allergiestation der Dermatologischen Universitätsklinik Zürich.


Baker's asthma is the most frequent occupational lung disease in Switzerland and West Germany. Cereal flours, and more rarely flour parasites, are implicated as the responsible allergens. Based on an observation of a case of baker's asthma due to monovalent sensitization to alpha-amylase used as additive to flour, 31 bakers with occupational asthma and/or rhinitis were routinely tested by skin tests and serological RAST examinations for allergic sensitivity to flour, alpha-amylase and other bakery additives. 17/31 subjects (55%) reacted positively in scratch tests to a commercial powdered alpha-amylase and 13/20 (65%) to a lecithin preparation. 23/31 (74%) and 19/31 (61%) were RAST positive to wheat and to rye flour respectively. 32% had RAST specific IgE to alpha-amylase (from Aspergillus oryzae), 19.3% to soya bean flour and 16% to malt. 7/12 and 5/12 respectively reacted to trypsin inhibitor and lipoxidase, the main allergens in soya bean. In two patients monosensitization to alpha-amylase was present. In accordance with other reports we recommend that baking additives, especially alpha-amylase, should be tested in allergological diagnosis of occupational diseases in flour processing workers. Full declaration of all additives used in the bakery industry is needed.

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