Drive you nuts
Can (new) legume-based meat substitutes trigger an allergic reaction? In this project we are developing a new method to predict, based on serum from peanut-allergic patients, whether (new) processed proteins from legumes can trigger an allergic reaction cascade at a cellular level. This allows us to predict product safety.
In this multidisciplinary project we will develop a new strategy to predict whether processed, new proteins can trigger an allergic reaction. At the moment there is a large increase in the number of meat substitutes on the market. Because of their high nutritional value, these meat substitutes often contain proteins from legumes, such as soy, pea and lupin. These proteins are highly processed, like extremely heated, to mimic the texture of meat.
At the same time, the number of people with a food allergy is also increasing rapidly. That is why it is important, especially when it comes to new proteins such as lupin, to be able to predict whether they can trigger an allergic reaction. In addition, legumes sometimes seem to trigger an allergic reaction in people who are already allergic to peanuts or tree nuts. This is called a cross-reaction. Processing food can cause proteins to change, which can also change whether or not they cause an allergic reaction.
At the moment there are no sufficient techniques to make an accurate prediction about this. To be able to see whether there is an allergic reaction to a certain type of protein, a so-called oral challenge is the golden standard. This can be a risky procedure for the patient. Therefore, we want to set up a method in this project using serum from peanut-allergic patients in which we can predict whether an allergic reaction cascade to new, processed proteins from legumes can occur at a cellular level. This allows us to predict the safety of these proteins without burdening patients and thus speed up the protein transition.