Occupational Asthma Reference

Baur X, Sander I, Jansen A, Czuppon AB, Are amylases in bakery products and flour potential food allergens?, Schweiz Med Wochenschr, 1994;124:846-851,

Keywords: amylase, flour, food, enzyme, alpha amylase, mould, aspergillus, aspergillus oryzae, baker, IgE, non-occupational

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Xaver Baur, Institute of occupational medicine, Hamburg Xaver Baur

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The enzyme alpha-amylase from the mould Aspergillus oryzae (Asp o II) routinely used for the production of bread, cakes and pastries has in recent years been identified as an inhalative allergen for occupational diseases (bakers' asthma). It is doubtful whether this amylase in the final product, i.e. after the baking procedure, can still be regarded as an allergen. To clarify this question, detailed case histories on 138 subjects were recorded (98 allergics, 20 patients suffering form chronic intestinal diseases, 20 healthy controls). The clinical examinations included prick skin test and IgE antibody determination using one of the customary enzyme preparations. EAST showed a few of these 138 bread consumers to be weakly sensitized to the enzyme. One of the subjects displayed a significant reaction to alpha-amylase heated to 200 degrees C. As expected, eleven bakers sensitized to alpha-amylase by inhaling it in the workplace (positive prick test, positive case history) predominantly exhibited specific IgE antibodies to the native enzyme. Apart from one weakly positive finding, heated alpha-amylase yielded negative results in this collective. Baking conditions vary widely, especially with regard to single components, temperature and duration. Thus, further investigations as to residual allergenicity or the feasible occurrence of new antigenic determinants during the production of bread, cake and pastries are required. 27% of bakers examined and 9% of atopics showed antibodies to a flour inherent enzyme, a beta-amylase. On the whole, the selected conditions hinted at a weakly sensitizing potential inherent in baking flour and in added amylase

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