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Maturity and Storage Influence on the Apple (Malus domestica) Allergen Mal d 3, a Nonspecific Lipid Transfer Protein

Sancho, A.I., Foxall, R., Rigby, N.M., Browne, T., Zuidmeer, L., Ree, R. van, Waldron, K.W., Mills, E.N.C.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2006 v.54 no.14 pp. 5098-5104
apples, allergens, plant proteins, binding proteins, peels, cultivars, food storage, controlled atmosphere storage, ripening
Consumption of apples can provoke severe allergic reactions, in susceptible individuals, due to the presence of the allergen Mal d 3, a nonspecific lipid transfer protein, found largely in the fruit skin. Levels of Mal d 3 were determined in peel as a function of apple cultivar, position of the fruit growing on the tree, apple maturity, and postharvest storage by ELISA. As the apples mature, Mal d 3 levels increased, although the rate was dependent on cultivar and tree position. During storage, levels of Mal d 3 decreased in all cultivars (cvs. Cox, Jonagored, and Gala), the rate of overall decrease being greatest under controlled atmosphere conditions. There was no correlation between Mal d 3 levels and total apple peel protein, indicating specific alterations in Mal d 3 expression. Thus pre- and postharvest treatments (i.e., storage) can modify the allergen load in apple peel, the highest levels being found in overly mature and freshly harvested fruits.