Occupational asthma caused by guar gum

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1990 Apr;85(4):785-90. doi: 10.1016/0091-6749(90)90199-e.


Some vegetable gums have been reported to cause asthma. We describe three subjects who were exposed at work to guar gum, which is derived from the outer part of Cyanopsis tetragonolobus, a vegetable that grows in India. The first subject worked for a pharmaceutical company; the second and third subjects worked at a carpet-manufacturing plant. All three subjects developed symptoms of rhinitis and asthma after the onset of exposure to guar gum. All subjects were atopic and demonstrated mild bronchial hyperresponsiveness to inhaled histamine at the time they were observed. Skin prick tests demonstrated an immediate skin reaction to guar gum. All three subjects had high levels of serum IgE antibodies to guar gum. Specific inhalation challenges in which the three subjects were exposed for short intervals (less than or equal to 4 minutes) to powder of guar gum elicited isolated immediate bronchospastic reactions in two subjects and a dual reaction in the other subject.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / adverse effects*
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Galactans / adverse effects*
  • Galactans / immunology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / etiology
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / physiopathology
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Male
  • Mannans / adverse effects*
  • Mannans / immunology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Plant Gums
  • Radioallergosorbent Test
  • Skin Tests


  • Allergens
  • Galactans
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Mannans
  • Plant Gums
  • guar gum