Pulse Light Research Helps Create Hypoallergenic Peanuts

More than 3 million people struggle with allergies to peanuts with reactions ranging from skin rash to anaphylaxis and even death. As peanuts and peanut oils are found in a number of common products, researchers have been searching for a method to help lessen the severity of the reaction for those who are sensitive to them. Recently, Wade Yang, an assistant professor and human nutrition researcher, has developed a very interesting method to help reduce the concentrations of allergens in peanuts by up to 90%.

In order to do this, Yang pulses concentrated bursts of ultraviolent light containing multiple wavelengths. The method, known as pulsed ultraviolet light (PUV), is relatively simple and has been incredibly effective. PUV effectively changes peanut allergens in such a way that they become unrecognizable by the antibodies present in the human body. The body does not see them as a threat, and does not release histamines. Histamines are responsible for allergic reactions in the body like itching, rashes and wheezing.

PUV will allow production facilities to control allergens at the processing stage before the product even makes it onto store shelves. Through its use, PUV helps reduce the three most allergenic proteins in peanuts, including Ara h2 the most potent of the three. Previous attempts to reduce that protein had been unsuccessful, making this new technique the first success.

Yang’s method was also tested with a biochemical test in which these hypoallergenic proteins were exposed to serum samples from individuals with peanut allergies to see if an allergic reaction occurred. The results were extremely positive, with a marked decrease in allergic activity, and an increase of a normal response to non-allergic food substances.

Should PUV become standard practice in nut processing facilities, the proper testing and calibration of this equipment would be vital. Konica Minolta has a number of light measurement and testing instruments capable of producing the rapid highly accurate readings. To learn more about our products and services contact us today!

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