Tomato allergy: Detection of IgE-binding lipid transfer proteins in tomato derivatives and in fresh tomato peel, pulp, and seeds

Valerio Pravettoni, Laura Primavesi, Laura Farioli, Oreste V. Brenna, Carlo Pompei, Amedeo Conti, Joseph Scibilia, Marta Piantanida, Ambra Mascheri, Elide A. Pastorello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is an increasing consumption of tomatoes worldwide: fresh in salads, cooked in household sauces, or industrially processed. Although many tomato allergens have been identified, there is no information In the literature on the allergenic components found in commercial tomato products. The primary aim of the study was to evaluate the allergenic profile of commercial tomato products by skin prick tests (SPTs) and IgE/immunoblotting in tomato-allergic subjects. The secondary end point was the study of the IgE-binding profile of tomato peel, pulp, and seeds. Forty tomato-allergic patients, reporting oral allergy syndrome (OAS) at different grades of severity for fresh and, in some cases, also for cooked tomato, were selected on the basis of positive tomato allergy history or open food challenge (OFC). They were evaluated by SPTs with different experimental tomato extracts. SDS-PAGE/immunoblotting was performed to detect tomato allergens, which were then identified by Edman degradation. Twenty-three patients (57.5%) presented first-grade OAS at the OFC, whereas 17 (42.5%) reported severe symptoms. Ten of these 17 patients (25%) reported allergic reactions to cooked tomatoes; in immunoblotting tests, their sera reacted only to lipid transfer protein (LTP). In commercial products, LTP was the only detectable allergen. In contrast to other LTP-containing fruits, in tomato, an IgE-binding LTP was identified not only in the peel but also in the pulp and seeds. This study demonstrates that, in fresh tomato, different LTP isoforms are present and allergenic. Industrial tomato derivatives still contain LTP, thus presenting a problem for LTP-allergic patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10749-10754
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 25 2009


  • Industrial tomato derivatives
  • Lipid transfer protein
  • Lycopersicon esculentum
  • Oral allergy syndrome
  • Skin prick test
  • Tomato allergy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Chemistry(all)


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