Bee pollen: a dangerous food for allergic children. Identification of responsible allergens

Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2010 Sep-Oct;38(5):263-5. doi: 10.1016/j.aller.2009.12.003. Epub 2010 May 5.


Background: Bee pollen has been proposed as a food supplement, but it can be a dangerous food for people with allergy. We study an allergic reaction after ingestion of bee pollen in a 4-year-old boy who had developed rhinitis in the last spring and autumn.

Methods: We performed a prick-by-prick test with bee pollen and skin prick tests with the most important local pollens, house dust mites, common fungi, and animal danders. The levels of serum tryptase, serum total IgE and specific IgE against bee venom and local pollen extracts were determined. The composition of the bee pollen was analysed and SDS-PAGE immunoblotting and blotting-inhibition were carried out.

Results: Prick tests were positive to bee pollen and all local pollens extracts and negative to any other allergen sources. The bee pollen sample contained pollens from Quercus genus, and Asteraceae (Compositae) and Rosaceae families. Total IgE was 435 kU/l. Serum specific IgE to bee pollen was 6 kU/l and greater than 0.35 kU/L against pollens from Artemisia vulgaris, Taraxacum officinalis, Cupressus arizonica, Olea europaea, Platanus acerifolia and Lolium perenne as well as to n Art v 1 and other pollen marker allergens. Tryptase level was 3.5 mcg/mL. SDS-PAGE immunoblotting-inhibition points to Asteraceae pollen as the possible cause of the allergic reaction.

Conclusion: Foods derived from bees can be dangerous to people with allergy to pollen.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Artemisia / immunology
  • Bee Venoms / adverse effects
  • Bee Venoms / immunology*
  • Bees / immunology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Male
  • Pollen / adverse effects
  • Pollen / immunology*
  • Rhinitis
  • Seasons
  • Skin Tests


  • Allergens
  • Bee Venoms
  • Immunoglobulin E