Peanuts are widely used in food processing because they are rich in fats and protein, however they are also one of the eight major food allergens. In a recent study from the Journal of Food Science published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), researchers from Ningbo Institute of Agricultural Sciences in China found that seed germination could reduce the allergen level in peanuts.
Allergenic proteins in peanuts are degraded during seed germination. The researchers found that by altering that natural process by controlling certain environmental factors, peanut allergenicity could be reduced. The study specifically looked at temperature and light effects on Ara h1, a previously identified peanut allergen.
The authors concluded that short-term germination could be an easy way to improve food safety of peanuts and produce hypoallergenic peanut food. Further studies are needed to assess the effects of germination on other major peanut allergens.
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Yingchao Li et al. Beneficial Influence of Short-Term Germination on Decreasing Allergenicity of Peanut Proteins, Journal of Food Science (2016). DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.13161