Freshly consumed apples (Malus domestica L. Borkh) can cause allergic reactions because of the presence of four classes of allergens. Knowledge of the genetic factors affecting the allergenic potential of apples would provide important information for the selection of hypoallergenic genotypes, which can be combined with the adoption of new agronomical practices to produce fruits with a reduced amount of allergens. In the present research, a multiple analytical approach was adopted to characterize the allergenic potential of 24 apple varieties released at different ages (pre- and post-green revolution). A specific workflow was set up including protein quantification by means of polyclonal antibodies, immunological analyses with sera of allergic subjects, enzymatic assays, clinical assessments on allergic patients, and gene expression assays on fruit samples. Taken as a whole, the results indicate that most of the less allergenic genotypes were found among those deriving from selection processes carried out prior to the so-called "green revolution".
Keywords: Malus domestica; gene expression studies; polyclonal antibodies; prick-by-prick tests.