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Food allergy to peanut is a significant health problem, and there are reported allergic reactions to peanuts despite not eating or having physical contact with peanuts. It is presumed that an allergic reaction may have occurred from inhalation of airborne peanut allergens. The purpose of this study was to detect the possible concentrations of airborne peanut proteins for various preparations and during specific activities. Separate Ara h 1 and Ara h 2 monoclonal enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and a polyclonal sandwich enzyme immunoassay for peanuts were used to detect the amount of airborne peanut protein collected using a Spincon Omni 3000 air collector (Sceptor Industries, Inc., Kansas City, MO) under different peanut preparation methods and situations. Air samples were measured for multiple peanut preparations and scenarios. Detectable amounts of airborne peanut protein were measured using a whole peanut immunoassay when removing the shells of roasted peanut. No airborne peanut allergen (Ara h 1 or Ara h 2) or whole peanut protein above the LLD was measured in any of the other peanut preparation collections. Ara h 1, Ara h 2, and polyclonal peanut proteins were detected from water used to boil peanuts. Small amounts of airborne peanut protein were detected in the scenario of removing shells from roasted peanuts; however, Ara h 1 and Ara h 2 proteins were unable to be consistently detected. Although airborne peanut proteins were detected, the concentration of airborne peanut protein that is necessary to elicit a clinical allergic reaction is unknown.


Rodney M Johnson, Charles S Barnes. Airborne concentrations of peanut protein. Allergy and asthma proceedings : the official journal of regional and state allergy societies. 2013 Jan-Feb;34(1):59-64

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PMID: 23406937

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