Food chemistry (2013), 141, 4031--9 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.06.105
The major heat-stable shellfish allergen, tropomyosin, demonstrates immunological cross-reactivity, making specific differentiation of crustaceans and molluscs for food labelling very difficult. The aim of this study was to evaluate the application of allergen-specific monoclonal antibodies in differential detection of shellfish-derived tropomyosin in 11 crustacean and 7 mollusc species, and to study the impact of heating on its detection. Cross-reactive tropomyosin was detected in all crustacean species, with partial detection in molluscs: mussels, scallops and snails but none in oyster, octopus and squid. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that heating of shellfish has a profound effect on tropomyosin detection. This was evident by the enhanced recognition of multiple tropomyosin variants in the analysed shellfish species. Specific monoclonal antibodies, targetting the N-terminal region of tropomyosin, must therefore be developed to differentiate tropomyosins in crustaceans and molluscs. This can help in correct food labelling practices and thus protection of consumers.