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Food Chem. 2013 Dec 15;141(4):4031-9. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.06.105. Epub 2013 Jul 3.

Impact of heat processing on the detection of the major shellfish allergen tropomyosin in crustaceans and molluscs using specific monoclonal antibodies.

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School of Pharmacy and Molecular Science, Centre for Biodiscovery and Molecular Development of Therapeutics, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.


The major heat-stable shellfish allergen, tropomyosin, demonstrates immunological cross-reactivity, making specific differentiation of crustaceans and molluscs for food labelling very difficult. The aim of this study was to evaluate the application of allergen-specific monoclonal antibodies in differential detection of shellfish-derived tropomyosin in 11 crustacean and 7 mollusc species, and to study the impact of heating on its detection. Cross-reactive tropomyosin was detected in all crustacean species, with partial detection in molluscs: mussels, scallops and snails but none in oyster, octopus and squid. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that heating of shellfish has a profound effect on tropomyosin detection. This was evident by the enhanced recognition of multiple tropomyosin variants in the analysed shellfish species. Specific monoclonal antibodies, targetting the N-terminal region of tropomyosin, must therefore be developed to differentiate tropomyosins in crustaceans and molluscs. This can help in correct food labelling practices and thus protection of consumers.


Allergen heat-treatment; Crustacean; IgE epitope recognition; Mollusc; Monoclonal antibodies; Seafood; Tropomyosin

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