Tomato allergy: impact of genotype and environmental factors on the biological response.
Food allergies are increasing in the European population. At present the onset of symptoms can be avoided only by elimination of a particular fruit or vegetable from the diet. A new approach is to develop hypoallergenic food products. This study characterises the allergenic potential of tomatoes, considering cultivation conditions, developmental stages and genotypes, in order to identify hypoallergenic fruits.
RESULTS: Patients with a history of tomato allergy were recruited for skin allergy tests. Tomatoes carrying distinct genotypes were grown under various cultivation conditions and harvested at different maturation stages. Cultivation conditions (nitrogen fertilisation, light exposure and plant nutrition) did not affect the skin reactivity in tomato-allergic patients. However, skin reactivity was significantly lower when using green-unripe compared with red-ripe tomatoes and when using landrace cultivars compared with cultivars bred for use in organic horticulture.
CONCLUSION: Depending on their genetic background and maturity level, some tomato cultivars elicit positive reactions in tomato-allergic patients in the skin allergy test. This novel finding should pave the way for the development of tomatoes with reduced allergenicity to relieve sufferers of tomato allergy.
Dölle, S.; Schwarz, D.; Lehmann, K.; Weckwerth, W.; George, E.; Worm, M.; Franken, P. 2011. Tomato allergy: impact of genotype and environmental factors on the biological response. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 91 (12), 2234-2240.