Baker's asthma due to xylanase and cellulase without sensitization to alpha-amylase and only weak sensitization to flour

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2001 Apr;124(4):502-5. doi: 10.1159/000053786.


Background: The baking additives xylanase and cellulase were described as baking additives causing baker's asthma. It is not known whether monosensitization to these enzymes may occur.

Methods: We present a case report of a baker with work-related asthma evaluated by skin prick test (SPT), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (EAST), immunoblot, EAST and immunoblot inhibition, and specific bronchial challenge. Fungal xylanase and alpha-amylase were measured by two-site enzyme immunoassays in products used by the patient at work.

Results: Allergy to xylanase and cellulase was demonstrated by SPT, EAST, immunoblot and specific bronchial challenge (for xylanase only). No sensitization to alpha-amylase could be demonstrated, but there was a weak flour allergy as documented by EAST and immunoblot and a positive occupational-type challenge with high concentrations of rye flour. Four baking additives contained measurable amounts of fungal alpha-amylase and xylanase, without a correlation between these enzymes.

Conclusions: We conclude that occupational asthma due to the baking additives xylanase and cellulase may occur without concomitant sensitization to alpha-amylase and only weak sensitization to flour.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Cellulase / adverse effects*
  • Cellulase / analysis
  • Cooking
  • Flour / adverse effects
  • Flour / analysis
  • Food Additives / adverse effects*
  • Food Additives / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / immunology
  • Xylan Endo-1,3-beta-Xylosidase
  • Xylosidases / adverse effects*
  • Xylosidases / analysis
  • alpha-Amylases / adverse effects
  • alpha-Amylases / analysis


  • Food Additives
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Xylosidases
  • alpha-Amylases
  • Xylan Endo-1,3-beta-Xylosidase
  • Cellulase