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Confirmation of the Allergenic Peanut Protein, Ara h 1, in a Model Food Matrix Using Liquid Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS/MS)

Shefcheck K.J., Musser S.M.

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2004), 52, 10, 2785--2790 DOI: 10.1021/jf035129h


Enzymatic digestion of total protein along with liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) was used to confirm the presence of a major peanut allergen in food. Several peptides obtained from the enzymatic digestion of the most abundant peanut allergen, Ara h 1, were identified as specific peptide biomarkers for peanut protein. Using ice cream as a model food matrix, a method was developed for the detection of the allergen peptide biomarkers. A key component of the method was the use of molecular mass cutoff filters to enrich the Ara h 1 in the protein extracts. By applying the method to ice cream samples containing various levels of peanut protein, levels as low as 10 mg/kg of Ara h 1 could routinely be detected. This method provides an unambiguous means of confirming the presence of the peanut allergen, Ara h 1, in foods and can easily be modified to detect other food allergens. Keywords: Allergenicity; analysis; confirmation; LC/MS/MS; peanut; proteins