Allergic manifestations to the ingestion of edible insects have been reported, especially in countries where edible insects are traditionally consumed. However, to date, allergens of edible insects have been poorly investigated. The AllergenOnline server was used for assessing the allergenic character of the putative IgE-binding cross-reactive allergens from the consumed yellow mealworm, silkworm, house fly maggot, migratory locust, house cricket, greater wax moth, black soldier fly, American grasshopper and Indian mealmoth. Positive hits correspond to allergens exhibiting >35% identity over an 80-residue sliding window and 100% identity over an 8-residue sliding window, respectively. Most of the hits consist of allergens from arthropods such as dust mites, crustaceans and insects, and more rarely, of allergens from mollusks, nematodes, and fungi. All the identifed allergens share conserved amino acid sequences and three-dimensional structures. Accordingly, the allergens of edible insects form clusters closely related to crustacean, mollusk and nematode clusters into the phylogenetic trees built up from the sequence alignments. Our computational investigations suggest edible insects possess a large repertoire of IgE-binding allergens they share with phylogenetically related groups of arthropods, mollusks, and nematodes. These cross-reacting allergens are susceptible to trigger allergic reactions in individuals previously sensitized to shellfish or mollusks.
Part of the book: Future Foods