Next generation of food allergen quantification using mass spectrometric systems

J Proteome Res. 2014 Aug 1;13(8):3499-509. doi: 10.1021/pr500247r. Epub 2014 Jul 11.


Food allergies are increasing worldwide and becoming a public health concern. Food legislation requires detailed declarations of potential allergens in food products and therefore an increased capability to analyze for the presence of food allergens. Currently, antibody-based methods are mainly utilized to quantify allergens; however, these methods have several disadvantages. Recently, mass spectrometry (MS) techniques have been developed and applied to food allergen analysis. At present, 46 allergens from 11 different food sources have been characterized using different MS approaches and some specific signature peptides have been published. However, quantification of allergens using MS is not routinely employed. This review compares the different aspects of food allergen quantification using advanced MS techniques including multiple reaction monitoring. The latter provides low limits of quantification for multiple allergens in simple or complex food matrices, while being robust and reproducible. This review provides an overview of current approaches to analyze food allergens, with specific focus on MS systems and applications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / analysis*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Food Analysis / methods*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Prevalence
  • Trypsin


  • Allergens
  • Peptides
  • Trypsin