Breeding peanut for reduced allergen content
Clemson Extension Program Team
Peanut allergy affects approximately 6.1 million children and adults in the US. The prevalence of peanut allergy has increased from 0.4% (1997) to 2.9% (2021) and is further increasing. It has become a substantial health concern in industrialized countries due to increased prevalence over time. Peanut allergy affects not only the lives of children with sensitivity but also their families by reducing the quality of their lives. The recent landmark LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut) study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that development of peanut allergies can be reduced more than 80% following exposure to peanut protein early in childhood. This resulted in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) having revised their guidelines to recommend infant introduction to peanut protein as early as four to six months of age.
The standard peanut allergy management is the complete exclusion of peanuts from the diet, patient education, and the provision of emergency rescue medication. Despite vigilance, accidental exposures are common due to cross-contamination and unregulated precautionary labeling. Approximately 7-14% of peanut-sensitive individuals experience accidental peanut exposure annually. Sixteen peanut proteins, Ara h 1 to Ara h 17 (Ara h 4 is renamed Ara h 3.02), are recognized as peanut allergens. Among the 16 peanut allergens, four proteins known as Ara h 1, Ara h 2, Ara h 3, and Ara h 6 are considered major allergens as they affect more than 50% of peanut-sensitive individuals in the United States.
Land-Grant Press by Clemson Extension
Peanut Sensitive individuals, South Carolina Peanut Growers, Educators, Peanut Breeder.
Alam T, Anco DJ, Rustgi S. Breeding Peanut for Reduced Allergen Content. Clemson (SC): Clemson Cooperative Extension, Land-Grant Press by Clemson Extension; 2023 Dec. LGP 1183. https://lgpress.clemson.edu/publication/breeding-peanut-for-reduced-allergen-content/.