Internet Symposium on Food Allergens 3(2):87-92 (2001) [PDF-file]

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Allergen Data Collection:
Poppy Seed (Papaver somniferum)
Authors in alphabetical order [contact information]
Sue L.
BESLER (Hamburg, Germany)
HEFLE (Lincoln, NE, USA)
JENSEN-JAROLIM (Vienna, Austria)


The poppy plant is grown predominantly in Central Asia and the Mediterranean Area. The unripe capsules are used in the production of opium, while the mature poppy seeds used in the food industry are free of opium. Poppy seeds are traditionally used as ingredients and for garnishing of cakes and bread. Additionally the seeds are a source of edible oil, which is also used in high quality paint.
Allergy to poppy seeds is rare. However, during recent years there have been several reports of allergic reactions after ingestion of poppy seeds. The clinical spectrum of reactions ranges from milder oral symptoms to life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. Interestingly almost all poppy seed allergic individuals have a concomitant sensitization to nuts as confirmed by skin tests and specific serum IgE.
An IgE-binding glycoprotein with a molecular mass of 45 kDa has been identified as the major allergen in poppy seeds. Cross-reactivity of poppy seed allergens to hazelnut and rye flour on the one hand and on the other hand to pollens (birch, timothy grass, and mugwort) could be demonstrated. Sensitization to poppy pollen seems to be unimportant.

Detailed information on prevalence and symptoms of poppy seed allergy as well as cross-reactivities, and allergen sources are summarized in the present review in tabular form.
  Prevalence of Poppy Seed Allergy
Symptoms of Poppy Seed Allergy
Composition of Poppy Seeds
Allergens of Poppy Seeds
    4.1Sensitization to Poppy Seed Allergens
Isolation & Preparation
Stability of Poppy Seed Allergens
Allergen Sources

The reference lists of the Allergen Data Collections are based mainly on searches of Medline and FSTA (Food Science & Technology Abstracts) databases up to the related dates of publication. The scientific rigor of the studies listed is variable and not subject of critique or evaluation by the authors or the editor of the Allergen Data Collections. The reader should be aware of considerable problems in comparing data from different studies (eg. patient cohorts, diagnostic performances, possible flaws in allergen preparations and methodologies for allergen characterization) and is encouraged to review the original publications.
The information provided by the Internet Symposium on Food Allergens is for educational, communication and information purposes only and is not intended to replace or constitute medical advice or treatments. Neither the authors nor the editorial board of the Internet Symposium on Food Allergens are responsible for use which might be made of the information.

copyright © 2001 by matthias besler -  ONLINE PUBLISHER