Airborne seafood allergens as a cause of occupational allergy and asthma

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2013 Jun;13(3):288-97. doi: 10.1007/s11882-013-0347-y.


Occupational allergy and asthma is a serious adverse health outcome affecting seafood-processing workers. Allergic reactions are directed to two major seafood groups: fish and shellfish, with the latter group comprising crustaceans and molluscs. Several allergenic proteins have been identified in these different groups, but few have been characterised on a molecular level. Parvalbumin appears to be the major fish allergen, while tropomyosin the major crustacean allergen. Other IgE-binding proteins have also been identified in molluscs and other seafood-associated agents (e.g. Anisakis sp), although their molecular nature has not been characterised. Aerosolised allergens can be identified and quantified using immunological and chemical approaches, detecting levels as low as 10 ng/m(3). This contemporary review discusses interesting and recent findings in the area of occupational seafood allergy including high-risk occupations, environmental risk factors for airborne exposures, major and minor allergens implicated and innovative approaches in diagnosing and managing occupational allergy and asthma associated with seafood processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • Asthma, Occupational / etiology*
  • Asthma, Occupational / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects*
  • Parvalbumins / immunology
  • Seafood / adverse effects*
  • Tropomyosin / immunology


  • Allergens
  • Particulate Matter
  • Parvalbumins
  • Tropomyosin