12 January - 20 June 2016

Maillard reaction reduces the allergenic effect of fish protein

23 April 2015

Dietary allergies to fish protein are experienced all over the world, giving cause for concern wherever fish is used as a source of protein with high nutritional value. The allergen is caused by an immunoglobin E (IgE) - mediated allergy response, which triggers release of allergenic mediates in the body (e.g. histamine) and can be described as type I food sensitivity.  

Previous studies have shown immediate onset of allergic reactions such as asthma and diarrhea on consumption of fish. However, recent research published by food scientists in South Korea and published in the journal Food Science last year, investigates how the process of browning that takes place during cooking (known as the Maillard reaction) could reduce the allergenic effects.  The Maillard reaction occurs between amino acids and sugars in food products and results in the characteristic 'browning' associated with roasting, cooking or baking processes.  

Addition of a sugar (ribose) to raw fish samples was carried out; variables such as ribose concentration, reaction time and pH were investigated, resulting in optimum conversion of the fish protein material into Maillard reaction products.  The anti-allergenic effects of the resulting materials were examined by measuring the secretion of histamine in an in vitro model.  In addition, the amount of nitric oxide produced by treated fish protein was shown to be approximately 30% lower than is produced by the untreated material; nitric oxide can cause cell damage and leads to occurrences of inflammation, which can contribute to allergic disorders.

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