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A Cherry Seed‐Derived Spice, Mahleb, is Recognized by Anti‐Almond Antibodies Including Almond‐Allergic Patient IgE


There are a number of examples of immunologic cross‐reactivity elicited by pollens, fruits, seeds, and nuts of closely related plant species. Such cross‐reactivity is of particular concern for patients with food allergies. In this report, we investigated a spice (mahleb) that is prepared from the kernel of the St. Lucie cherry, Prunus mahaleb, for cross‐reactivity with almond (Prunus dulcis), using enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blot. Almond and mahleb are members of the same genus. Cross‐reactivity between the mahleb and almond was demonstrated by reaction of cherry and almond kernel protein extracts with antibodies raised against almond proteins. Almond‐specific murine monoclonal IgG, rabbit polyclonal IgG, and almond‐allergic serum IgE each exhibited cross‐reactivity with cherry kernel protein. Because of the demonstrated cross‐reactivity between almond and mahleb, these findings should be of special concern to almond‐allergic patients and attending medical personnel.

Practical Application

Mahleb is cross‐reactive with almond‐allergic patient IgE and is likely to elicit an allergic response in sensitive individuals. This information is important for the protection of almond‐allergic patients.

Authors:   Kyle A. Noble, Changqi Liu, Shridhar K. Sathe, Kenneth H. Roux
Journal:   Journal of Food Science
Year:   2017
Pages:   n/a
DOI:   10.1111/1750-3841.13757
Publication date:   19-Jun-2017
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • Genus
  • fruits
  • food allergies
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