Allergens in Food: Identification, Detection, and Mitigation

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Quality and Safety".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2024) | Viewed by 1258

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Molecular Allergy Research Laboratory, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Douglas, QLD 4811, Australia
Interests: food allergies; seafood allergies; molecular allergology; allergy diagnostics; allergen immunology; antibody cross-reactivity; allergen characterization
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Guest Editor
Tropical Futures Institute, James Cook University Singapore, Singapore 387380, Singapore
Interests: food allergies; seafood allergies; proteomics; food safety; food authenticity and quality; aquatic and human health

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Guest Editor
Department of Paediatrics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, 1E Kent Ridge Road, NUHS Tower Block Level 12, Singapore 119228, Singapore
Interests: atopic dermatitis; food allergy & anaphylaxis; skin microbiome; developmental origins of health and disease (DoHAD)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Food allergies and consequent anaphylaxis have become major public health and food safety problems worldwide. It is estimated that over 500 million people live with food allergies. Without a realistic cure for food allergies, the diligent avoidance of allergenic foods is the best management option for allergic individuals. Subsequently, regulatory bodies mandate food allergen labelling to help affected consumers make informed food choices and avoid accidental exposure.

Vital progress has been made regarding the characterisation of food allergens, the study of their immunological properties, and their application in molecular allergy diagnosis. Known food allergens belong to a relatively restricted number of protein families characterized by biochemical and physicochemical properties. Understanding the molecular relationship of allergenic proteins enables the understanding of cross-reactivity and determining the allergenic risk, supported by recent advanced computational approaches.

Analytical tools for the detection and quantification of allergens and their residues in foods are integral parts of evidence-based risk assessments for labelling decisions. Detection methodologies start with the reproducible extraction of proteins (including allergens); the characterisation of molecular identity using biochemical and computational approaches; and sensitive quantification methods, including biosensors, ELISAs, PCR, and advanced mass spectrometry.

The global human population’s rapid growth over the last few centuries has raised the need for increased food protein production. Subsequently, the domestication of food sources and the substitution of traditional animal-based food with novel sustainable and healthy alternatives are topics that have gained increasing interest in academia and industry, as well as among governments and other stakeholders of food innovation systems. The ultimate aim of alternative food production and processing approaches is to achieve high production yields of cost-efficient food products with high nutritional values, low environmental impacts, and the desired functional and sensory properties for use as ingredients. Aquatic-based proteins and microalgae, fungi, plant-based proteins, cultured meat, and insects are the most promising solutions to date; however, their allergen profiles and allergenicities require close investigations in order to mitigate risks.

For this Special Issue, submissions in the form of original research and review papers that contribute to advancing the identification, detection, quantification, and alteration of allergens, starting from food ingredients and processing to conventional and novel food products, are welcome. Special attention will be paid to allergen detection and different mitigation approaches, including characterisation methods for food allergens, new detection technologies, new analytical platforms (e.g., mass spectrometric methods, PCR, ELISAs), and validation approaches.

Prof. Dr. Andreas L. Lopata
Dr. Thimo Ruethers
Dr. Elizabeth Huiwen Tham
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Foods is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • food allergens
  • food allergies
  • alternative proteins
  • allergen characterisation
  • biosensors
  • plant-based proteins
  • insect proteins
  • food processing
  • allergenicity
  • allergenomics
  • food allergen management
  • cross-reactivity
  • PCR and mass spectrometry
  • allergen detection
  • bioinformatics of allergens
  • food safety
  • molecular allergology

Published Papers (1 paper)

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23 pages, 8612 KiB  
Allergen Diversity and Abundance in Different Tissues of the Redclaw Crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus)
by Emily M. Jerry, Shaymaviswanathan Karnaneedi, Thimo Ruethers, Dean R. Jerry, Kelly Condon and Andreas L. Lopata
Foods 2024, 13(2), 315; - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1012
Shellfish allergy affects ~2.5% of the global population and is a type I immune response resulting from exposure to crustacean and/or molluscan proteins. The Australian Redclaw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus) is a freshwater species endemic to and farmed in northern Australia and [...] Read more.
Shellfish allergy affects ~2.5% of the global population and is a type I immune response resulting from exposure to crustacean and/or molluscan proteins. The Australian Redclaw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus) is a freshwater species endemic to and farmed in northern Australia and is becoming an aquaculture species of interest globally. Despite being consumed as food, allergenic proteins from redclaw have not been identified or characterised. In addition, as different body parts are often consumed, it is conceivable that redclaw tissues vary in allergenicity depending on tissue type and function. To better understand food-derived allergenicity, this study characterised allergenic proteins in various redclaw body tissues (the tail, claw, and cephalothorax) and how the stability of allergenic proteins was affected through cooking (raw vs. cooked tissues). The potential of redclaw allergens to cross-react and cause IgE-binding in patients allergic to other shellfish (i.e., shrimp) was also investigated. Raw and cooked extracts were prepared from each body part. SDS-PAGE followed by immunoblotting was performed to determine allergen-specific antibody reactivity to sarcoplasmic calcium-binding protein and hemocyanin, as well as to identify redclaw proteins binding to IgE antibodies from individual and pooled sera of shrimp-allergic patients. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC/MS) was utilised to identify proteins and to determine the proportion within extracts. Known crustacean allergens were found in all tissues, with a variation in tissue distribution (e.g., higher levels of hemocyanin in the claw and cephalothorax than in the tail). The proportion of some allergens as a percentage of remaining heat-stable proteins increased in cooked tissues. Previously described heat-stable allergens (i.e., hemocyanin and sarcoplasmic calcium-binding protein) were found to be partially heat-labile. Immunoblotting indicated that shrimp-allergic patients cross-react to redclaw allergens. IgE-binding bands, analysed by LC/MS, identified up to 11 known shellfish allergens. The findings of this study provide fundamental knowledge into the diagnostic and therapeutic field of shellfish allergy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Allergens in Food: Identification, Detection, and Mitigation)
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