Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (2012), 402, 8, 2607--2615 DOI: 10.1007/s00216-011-5218-6
The aim of this work was identifying and selecting hazelnut marker peptides and subsequently developing a complementary method of common immunoassay for the detection of hazelnut. For this purpose, at first, an in silico digestion of three major hazelnut allergens (Cor a 8, Cor a 9 and Cor a 11) was performed to get information about expected peptides. After extraction and trypsin digestion of hazelnut proteins, the samples were measured with tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) by direct infusion, which led to identification of 14 peptides. Eight of them with the highest MS signal were synthesized and used as standards for developing a liquid chromatography (LC)–MS/MS method in selected reaction monitoring (SRM) mode. Since almost all food allergens derived from nuts belong to the seed storage protein family and have homologue structure, a Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) search was performed to identify the hazelnut specificity of the developed method. According to BLAST, only one peptide occurs in three other nuts, and the remaining seven selected peptides are hazelnut specific. Additionally to hazelnut, the eight other listed nuts in Directive 2003/89/EC as allergen were extracted, digested and measured with the developed method to prove the BLAST results. The analytical data confirmed that six peptides are hazelnut specific, on the contrary to anti-hazelnut antibodies, which showed cross-reactivities to all other nut extracts. Comparing these results, it could be shown that with this LC–MS/MS method in SRM mode, the specific detection of hazelnut is possible.