Effect of processing technologies on the allergenicity of food products

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2015;55(13):1902-17. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2012.736435.


Heat treatment has been used since ancient times for food processing, first to ensure the safety of food and its storage, but also to transform its characteristics (in its raw form) and obtain new textures, flavors, or novel foods. However, the transformation experienced by food components when heated, or processed, can dramatically affect the allergenicity of food, either reducing or increasing it. To date, most of the articles published dealing with the changes in the potential allergenicity of food are focused on heat treatment and the Maillard reaction. However, it is also important to give prominence to other group of new technologies developed nowadays, such as high-pressure processing, microwaves and food irradiation. These techniques are not likely to replace traditional processing methods, but they are becoming attractive for the food industry due to different reasons, and it is expected in the near future to have different products on the market processed with these new technologies at an affordable cost. Moreover, other biochemical modifications, particularly enzymatic cross-linking of proteins, have attracted wide-spread attention and will be considered as well in this review, because of its great opportunities to induce protein modification and thus affect food allergenicity. Together with the effect of processing of food allergens, this review will place special attention on gastroduodenal digestion of processed allergens, which directly affects their allergenicity.

Keywords: Digestibility; Maillard reaction; enzymatic cross linking; heating; high-pressure; irradiation; microwaves.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / analysis
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Animals
  • Dietary Proteins / chemistry
  • Dietary Proteins / immunology
  • Digestion
  • Food Handling*
  • Food Hypersensitivity*
  • Food Irradiation
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Hydrostatic Pressure
  • Maillard Reaction
  • Microwaves


  • Allergens
  • Dietary Proteins