Comparison of allergen contents of different foods or food sources

ELISA with a standard curve provides information on quantities of specific allergens. Sometimes it is necessary to compare one extract with another to determine if the allergens present are the same (homologous) or different (heterologous). This is useful for determining if a particular treatment reduces or increases the allergenicity of a particular food source, for example whether hydrolysis has removed cow's milk allergens from infant formula. It is particularly useful for determining if a food causing an allergic reaction was contaminated or contains cross-reacting proteins with another known allergen, e.g. a food containing hazelnuts that caused a reaction in an individual with peanut allergy. Figure 7.3 shows a schematic representation of an ELISA inhibition to determine the similarity of two allergenic food sources. This assay may also be adapted to provide quantitative data where the percentage inhibition obtained with dilutions of a homologous antigen to the one bound to the plate is used as the standard curve. In this type of assay mouse monoclonal or rabbit antibodies are used rather than patient sera.

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