Apple allergy and the influence of different apple varieties
Apple (Malus domestica L.) is the most important fruit in Europe. But an increasing number of people are suffering from apple allergy, about one million in Europe, today. Thus, apple allergy is an important topic. The following sites give some information on apple allergy with a special focus on the influence of different varieties.
Some people can´t enjoy a fresh, juicy apple. They have unpleasant sensations like tickling or even inflammations in mouth and throat, or itching of eyes. These are local symptoms of the apple allergy which often disappear after a few hours, but can also last for several days. Most people develop the allergy during lifetime, often in combination with an allergy against birch pollen.
People with allergy report, that different apple varieties cause a difference in intensity of symptoms, some varieties even are symptomless.
Scientific studies showed that apple varieties differ in the content of internal factors involved in apple allergy and ranked the varieties according their relative allergenicity [3;7].
A generally accepted ranking, however, is difficult due to different reasons:
- Most studies focus on the main allergen in apple - the Mal d 1 protein-, which mostly causes the allergy in Northern Europe. But apples contain also a few other allergenic proteins.
- Other internal factors (e.g. polyphenol content, polyphenoloxidase activity) influence the Mal d 1 content and in that way the allergenicity.
- Ripening process, storage duration and storage method also influence the allergenicity. In this context it is important to say, that extending the storage duration increases the allergenicity.
- External factors, like site and growing conditions influence the allergen content of a variety. In one study, selected varieties grown at two different sites were investigated for their allergen content resulting in different rankings regarding their allergenicity .
The BUND local group Lemgo website informs about apple allergy in general, as well as in the context of apple varieties. There is also a list of the allergenicity of different varieties. The list is based on individual reports of people with apple allergy. It is continuously updated and expanded. It might help to find varieties which are tolerated by people with apple allergy (see links to other websites).
In literature it is mentioned that old apple varieties are more tolerated than new varieties. According to our literature research, however, this statement is not scientifically confirmed until now. It can´t be generally accepted. For example, the variety Golden Delicious is highly allergenic for some people, although it is an "old" variety originating from 1890. People with apple allergy, therefore, should consume unfamiliar varieties very carefully. Apple varieties with low allergenicity are also in the focus of current research and breeding. For example the EU project ISAFRUIT dealt with it. In a current press report it is mentioned, that two apple varieties with low allergenicity would be available for the market in the Netherlands from October until June .
 Altmeyer P & Bacharach-Buhles M (2010): Apfelallergie. T78.4 In: Enzyklopädie der Dermatologie, Allergologie, Umweltmedizin. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg (Online-Version, Download am 05.07.2011).
 Grafe C (2009): Apfelallergie: Aktueller Wissensstand und Ausblick. Obstbau 12, 618-620.
 Matthes A & Schmitz-Eiberger M (2009): Apple (Malus domestica L. Borkh.) allergen Mal d 1: effect of cultivar, cultivation system and storage conditions. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 57, 10548-10553.
 Nothnagel T & Grafe C (2007): Allergenes Potenzial bei Obst und Gemüse. ForschungsReport 2, 12-14.
 Schmitz-Eiberger M & Matthes A (2011): Effect of harvest maturity, duration of storage and shelf life of apples in the allergen Mal d 1, polyphenoloxidase activity and polyphenol content. Food Chemistry 127, 1459-1464.
 Vieths S, Schöning B & Jankiewicz A (1993): Occurrence of IgE binding allergens during ripening of apple fruits. Food and Agricultural Immunology 5/2, 93-105.
 Vieths S, Jankiewicz A, Schöning B, Aulepp H (1994): Apple allergy: the IgE-binding potency of apple strains is related to the occurrence of the 18-kDa allergen. Allergy 49, 262-271.
 Wigotzki M (2001): Einfluss der technologischen Verarbeitung auf das allergene Potiential der birkenpollenassoziierten Lebensmittel Haselnuß, Apfel und Karotte. Doktorarbeit, Universität Hamburg.
 WUR (Wageningen University & Research centre) (2011): Elise apples suitable for most people with mild apple allergy. www.wur.nl/UK/newsagenda/news/elise130311.htm (Download am 08.06.2011).
This article summarizes the results of our literature research about apple allergy. Do you have additional information about apple allergy and the influence of varieties? Then we would appreciate if you contact us.