Lowering Food Allergies
What Has ANR Done?Scientists at UC Berkeley demonstrated that a specific protein present in all living cells, thioredoxin (TRX), can break the chemical "bungie cords" that are often responsible for allergenicity. Using biotechnology, Bob Buchanan and Peggy Lemaux in the College of Natural Resources made wheat grains with higher levels of TRX, causing the chemical bonds of some of the allergenic proteins to relax. In preliminary experiments, dogs-- the closest model to humans in their allergic responses--exhibited less sensitivity to milk treated with TRX and to the modified, high-TRX wheat grain compared to standard wheat. This demonstrates that the approach can be used to reduce food allergenicity.
Scientists Demonstrate That Wheat and Milk Allergenicity Can Be ReducedResearchers have demonstrated a method that could be adopted by industry to lower food allergies in common staple foods. Such an approach could provide a specialized market for certain foods and improve food safety for the nearly 4 million people in the U.S. who suffer from food allergies.
Supporting Unit:UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Peggy G. Lemaux
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
University of California,Berkeley