Breeding for varieties with reduced allergenicity

In the Western society, prevalence and severity of allergies are rapidly increasing. Our research focus is on solutions for allergy-related matters in the pre-medical stage. We study the diversity of allergens in germplasm, and develop strategies to lower the amount of allergens by breeding. In this way we aim to prevent rather than cure.

Projects

  • Study of several allergen families in apple, in order to identify apple cultivars that are safe to use for people with apple allergy (oral allergy syndrome or OAS)
  • Study of gluten genes in bread wheat and its relatives in the genus Triticum/Aegilops, to identify gliadins that have lower toxicity for Celiac Disease (CD) patients, and to develop tools for breeders to use this information in their breeding program.
  • Study of avenins and baking quality of oats, in order to provide Celiac Disease patients with an alternative healthy cereal.

Collaboration of Plant & Medical groups

These projects are carried in collaboration with medical groups, food technology and plant scientists. A concrete spin-off is the identification of Santana and Elise as two low-allergenic apple cultivars that are tolerated by half of the people who suffer from apple allergy.