, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 30-46
Date: 04 May 2012

A Comprehensive Review of Legume Allergy

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Legumes belonging to Fabaceae family of the order Fabales are a rich and important source of proteins and many essential elements. Due to its nutritious elements, these are preferably included in human diet in most part of the world. But, unfortunately, IgE binding proteins have been identified in majority of legumes, and allergenic response to these legumes may range from mild skin reactions to life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. Overall, allergenicity due to consumption of legumes in decreasing order may be peanut, soybean, lentil, chickpea, pea, mung bean, and red gram. So far, several allergens from different legumes have been identified and characterized. Most of identified allergens belong to storage proteins family, profilins, or the pathogenesis-related proteins. Legumes also have property of immunological cross-reactivity among themselves and from other sources that also increases the severity of allergenic response to a particular legume. This review summarizes the currently available knowledge on legume allergy and describes the allergenic problems associated with different legumes. It also tries to explore about the legume allergens identified so far by different scientific groups. The culmination of knowledge about identification and characterization of allergens from different legumes will be helpful in diagnosis and treatment of allergy, for development of novel therapeutic strategies, for strict avoidance of particular legume in diet by susceptible individual and also to produce hypoallergenic cultivars of leguminous crop through conventional breeding or genetic modification.