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Comparison of different immunochemical methods for the detection and quantification of hazelnut proteins in food products

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Author: Koppelman, S. · Knulst, A.C. · Koers, W.J. · Penninks, A.H. · Peppelman, H. · Vlooswijk, R. · Pigmans, I. · Duijn, G. van · Hessing, M.
Institution: Centraal Instituut voor Voedingsonderzoek TNO
Source:Journal of Immunological Methods, 1-2, 229, 107-120
Identifier: 88930
doi: doi:10.1016/S0022-1759(99)00119-2
Keywords: Allergen · Detection · ELISA · Hazelnut · IgE · Immunoblotting · Food allergen · Immunoglobulin e · Rabbit antiserum · Vegetable protein · Controlled study · Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay · Food allergy · Food analysis · Food control · Food industry · Immunoblotting · Nonhuman · Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis · Priority journal · Protein determination · Allergens · Animals · Cross Reactions · Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay · Food Analysis · Food Hypersensitivity · Humans · Immunoblotting · Immunochemistry · Immunoglobulin E · Molecular Weight · Nuts · Plant Proteins · Rabbits · Corylus · Oryctolagus cuniculus


Hazelnuts are widely used in the food industry owing to their nutritive value and taste. The amount of hazelnut present in a recipe is usually considered as a mark of quality. On the other hand, contamination of foods that normally do not contain hazelnuts is a threat for patients with a hazelnut allergy. For this reason, the availability of a method for the detection and quantification of hazelnuts in foods would be desirable. The objective of this study was to develop a method for the detection and quantification of minor amounts of hazelnut protein in food products that is potentially applicable for the food industry. Several immunochemical methods, e.g., immunoblotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), were developed with antibodies from both hazelnut-sensitized patient sera and the sera of rabbits hyperimmunized with hazelnut protein. Immunoblotting appeared to be non-specific when the sera of patients were used as a source of antibodies. Using immunopurified antibodies from rabbits immunized with hazelnuts, immunoblotting became specific, but the sensitivity of this method was limited. Inhibition of IgE binding is a generally used test in clinical laboratories to establish contamination with hazelnuts. This approach is sensitive and specific, but not readily accessible for the food industry since patient serum is needed. Similar results in terms of sensitivity and specificity were obtained with a sandwich ELISA constructed with an immunopurified antibody from rabbits sensitized to hazelnuts. No substantial cross-reactivity with other nuts, legumes or other food constituents was observed, and concentrations as low as 5 ng/ml, corresponding to 1 ppm in food products, were detected. In a field test, several consumer products regarded to be free of hazelnuts were shown to contain traces of hazelnut. This sandwich ELISA constructed with immunopurified antibodies from rabbits sensitized with hazelnut protein is a sensitive and specific method to detect and quantify hazelnut and is useful in detecting trace contamination with hazelnut in various consumer products. Since this test does not require serum from patients, it is appropriate for use in the food industry. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.Chemicals/CAS: Allergens; Immunoglobulin E, 37341-29-0; Plant Proteins