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Targeted proteomics: Current status and future perspectives for quantification of food allergens

Ahsan, Nagib, Rao, R. Shyama Prasad, Gruppuso, Philip A., Ramratnam, Bharat, Salomon, Arthur R.
Journal of proteomics 2016 v.143 pp. 15-23
allergenicity, allergens, food industry, humans, hypersensitivity, mass spectrometry, monitoring, peptides, proteomics
Allergen levels in fresh and processed foods can vary dynamically. As different sources of foods can cause different types of allergic reactions, the food industry and regulatory bodies urgently require reliable detection and absolute quantitation methods for allergen detection in complex food products to effectively safeguard the food-allergic population. Recent advances of targeted proteomic technologies namely multiple-reaction monitoring (MRM) mass spectrometry (MS) coupled with isotope-labeled internal standard, also known as AQUA peptides offers absolute quantitation of food allergens even at 10ppb level in a multiplex fashion. However, development of successful AQUA-MRM assay relies on a number of pre and post MS criteria. In this review, we briefly describe how allergen levels could potentially change in plant and animal based foods, necessitating the development of a high throughput multiplexed allergen quantification methodology for successful AQUA-MRM assay. We also propose some future strategies that could provide better management of food allergy.Given the rapid increases of food allergenicity, it has become imperative to know absolute allergen levels in foods. This essential information could be the most effective means of protecting humans suffering from allergies. In this review, we emphasize the significance of the absolute quantitation of food allergens using AQUA-MRM approach and discuss the likely critical steps for successful assay development.