Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Making Cashews Safer for Those with Allergies

Published: Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Scientists now develop a method to process cashews to make them safer to eat.

For the millions of adults and children in the U.S. who have to shun nuts to avoid an allergic reaction, help could be on the way. Scientists are now developing a method to process cashews - and potentially other nuts - that could make them safer to eat for people who are allergic to them.

The researchers are presenting their work at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society. The meeting, being held here through Thursday, features nearly 12,000 presentations on a wide range of science topics.

“The only widely accepted practice for preventing an allergic reaction to nuts is strict avoidance - stay away from the food,” notes Chris Mattison, Ph.D. “Clinical trials to test immunotherapy are underway, but we’re approaching it from an agricultural perspective rather than medical. Can we change the food, instead of treating the person, so we can eliminate or reduce severe reactions?”

For those with food allergies, responses to offending products can range from mild itching in the mouth or skin to life-threatening anaphylaxis, which makes it hard to breathe. Once every three minutes, someone in the U.S. ends up in the emergency room due to a food allergy reaction - that adds up to about 200,000 visits a year.

To try to reduce those numbers, Mattison’s team is looking at ways to modify proteins in tree nuts and peanuts (which are legumes) that trigger an immune response in people who are allergic. The response is launched by antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE), which recognize and latch onto the proteins. Mattison explains that changing the shape of the proteins makes it harder for IgE to find them.

But past research taking this approach has involved harsh chemicals. Mattison, a researcher with the Agricultural Research Service branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wanted to see if his team could achieve the same results, but using compounds that are “generally regarded as safe,” or GRAS. These are substances that are accepted by the Food and Drug Administration for use in food and pharmaceuticals.

“We found that the GRAS compound sodium sulfite can effectively disrupt the structure of a couple of the cashew allergens,” Mattison says. “And we’ve done a couple of different tests to show we reduced IgE binding to the proteins when they’ve been treated with sodium sulfite.”

Next, they plan to conduct experiments on whole nuts and test the modified proteins on cells in the lab to see how they respond. They’re also looking at enzymes, which are molecules that can cut up proteins, as candidates to disrupt the allergens.

And, although this particular report focuses on cashew proteins, Mattison says the work could have broader implications. The kinds of allergenic proteins the GRAS compound and enzymes affect are not exclusive to one kind of nut.

“One of our goals is to apply our knowledge from the cashew experiments to other tree nuts and to peanuts,” he says.

Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,100+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Overlooked Molecules Could Revolutionise our Understanding of the Immune System
Researchers have discovered that around one third of all the epitopes displayed for scanning by the immune system are a type known as ‘spliced’ epitopes.
NIH Study Determines Key Differences between Allergic and Non-Allergic Dust Mite Proteins
Researchers at NIH have uncovered factors that lead to the development of dust mite allergy and assist in the design of better allergy therapies.
New Antibody Therapy Permanently Blocks SIV Infection
An international research team has developed an effective treatment strategy against the HIV-like Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) in rhesus macaques.
3D-Printing in Science: Conference Co-Staged with LABVOLUTION
LABVOLUTION 2017 will have an added highlight of a simultaneous conference, "3D-Printing in Science".
Contribution Increases by Tenfold The Mouse Mutation Resources of One Type Available
The repository provides academic researchers with unique genetic models that are unavailable commercially.
Antibody Drug Conjugates May Help Personalize Radiotherapy
Biomarker-driven study shows promise in sensitizing HER2 positive tumors to radiation and chemotherapy.
Mapping the Human Immune System
Researchers try to harness supercomputers to create the first map of the human immune system.
DNA Vaccines Protect Monkeys Against Zika Virus
Two experimental Zika virus DNA vaccines developed by NIH scientists protected monkeys against Zika infection.
Rare Flu-Thwarting Mutation Discovered
Study finds protein mutation, that is encoded by influenza, causes the virus to lose any defence against the immune system.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,100+ scientific videos