Processing May Prevent Peanut Peril

Allergen levels fall after fermentation, scientists say

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MONDAY, June 6, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A special fermentation process cuts levels of allergenic proteins in peanut products, potentially making them safer for people with peanut allergy, researchers report.

This process reduced detectable levels of major peanut allergenic proteins called Ara h1 and Ara h2 by as much as 70 percent, without seriously affecting the quality of the product, according to a North Carolina A&T State University research team.

Refining the process might even lead to completely functional but non-allergenic peanut products, researcher Jianmei Yu explained in a prepared statement.

"This finding is good news to individuals who are allergic to peanuts and important not only to the peanut industry but also to the food industry in general, where peanuts are used as an ingredient in food product development and food preparation," Yu said.

The study was presented Monday at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in Atlanta.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about nut and peanut allergies.

SOURCE: American Society for Microbiology, news release, June 6, 2005

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