Assessing hazelnut allergens by protein- and DNA-based approaches: LC-MS/MS, ELISA and real-time PCR

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2014 Apr;406(11):2581-90. doi: 10.1007/s00216-014-7679-x. Epub 2014 Feb 28.


Hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) is responsible for a significant part of the allergies related to nuts. Still, it is a very much appreciated nut and as consequence is widely used in all types of processed foods, such as chocolates. Correct food labelling is currently the most effective means of preventing the consumption of allergenic ingredients, namely hazelnut, by the sensitised/allergic individuals. Thus, to verify labelling compliance and to ensure allergic patient protection, the development of highly sensitive methodologies is of extreme importance. In this study, three major methodologies, namely enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry and real-time polymerase chain reaction, were evaluated for their performance regarding the detection of hazelnut allergens in model chocolates. The sandwich ELISA and respective antibodies were in-house developed and produced. With sensitivity levels of approximately 1 mg kg(-1) and limits of quantification of 50-100 mg kg(-1), all the performed methods were considered appropriate for the identification of hazelnut in complex foods such as chocolates. To our knowledge, this was the first successful attempt to develop and compare three independent approaches for the detection of allergens in foods.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / analysis*
  • Allergens / genetics
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Cacao / chemistry
  • Corylus / chemistry*
  • Corylus / genetics
  • Corylus / immunology
  • DNA, Plant / chemistry
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods*
  • Food Analysis
  • Nuts / chemistry*
  • Nuts / genetics
  • Nuts / immunology
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Allergens
  • DNA, Plant
  • Plant Proteins