Study of quantitative changes of cereal allergenic proteins after food processing

J Sci Food Agric. 2015 Mar 30;95(5):983-90. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6773. Epub 2014 Jul 3.


Background: Within last few years, the occurrence of food allergens and corresponding food allergies has been increasing, therefore research into the individual allergens is required. In the present work, the effect of cereal processing on the amounts of allergenic proteins is studied by modern proteomic-based approaches. The most important wheat and barley allergens are low-molecular-weight (LMW) proteins. Therefore we investigated the relative quantitative changes of these proteins after food technological processing, namely wheat couscous production and barley malting.

Results: A comparative study using mass spectrometry in connection with the technique of isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ) revealed that the amount of wheat allergenic LMW proteins decreased significantly during couscous production (approximately to 5-26% of their initial content in wheat flour). After barley malting, the amounts of the majority of LMW proteins decreased as well, although to a lesser extent than in the case of wheat/couscous. The level of two allergens even slightly increased.

Conclusion: Suggested proteomic strategy proved as universal and sensitive method for fast and reliable identification of various cereal allergens and monitoring of their quantitative changes during food processing. Such information is important for consumers who suffer from allergies.

Keywords: allergens; barley; cereals; mass spectrometry; proteins; wheat.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / adverse effects
  • Allergens / analysis*
  • Allergens / chemistry
  • Antigens, Plant / adverse effects
  • Antigens, Plant / analysis*
  • Antigens, Plant / chemistry
  • Czech Republic
  • Dietary Proteins / adverse effects
  • Dietary Proteins / analysis*
  • Dietary Proteins / chemistry
  • Edible Grain / adverse effects
  • Edible Grain / chemistry*
  • Food Handling*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / prevention & control
  • Food Inspection / methods*
  • Hordeum / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Molecular Weight
  • Peptide Mapping
  • Plant Proteins / adverse effects
  • Plant Proteins / analysis*
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteomics
  • Seedlings / chemistry
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Triticum / chemistry


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Plant Proteins