Bananas are in the Musaceae
family of plants which includes plantains.
Allergic reactions from eating bananas are thought to be mainly caused by chitinase, which is a plant derived enzyme made by the plant and naturally acts as a defence against fungal attacks.
Mus a 1 is a profilin protein
. These are plant panallergens with the potential to cause allergic reactions over large groups of seemingly unrelated groups of foods.
Mus a 2 is the chitinase protein, these are proteins associated with latex allergy
Mus a 3 is a Lipid transfer protein
. Again this is a panallergen which can cause allergic reactions over groups of foods.
Mus a 4 is a thaumatin protein, this is made by plants to inhibit fungal growth.
Banana allergy is most often seen in conjunction with allergies to other foods, either presenting as Pollen-Food Allergy Syndrome
or Latex Food Syndrome.
In Pollen-Food Allergy Syndrome the body mistakes the shape of a protein that it is already sensitive to (a plant pollen) to a similarly shaped protein in certain fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and nuts.
Latex Food Syndrome is caused by the body confusing the proteins it encounters in food to that of latex proteins to which it is already sensitised.
You may have LTP Syndrome
if you react to multiple foods in the cross reactivity section.
Allergy to banana is sometimes linked to Celery-Mugwort-Spice Syndrome
as the sensitising allergen is a profilin protein called Art v 4, these proteins are also sometimes also called Bet v 2 proteins.
There is a link between banana and Latex Food Syndrome
. The plant involved in latex allergy Hevea brasiliensis
, the rubber tree plant, has an allergen called Hev b 8 which is a profilin protein. Those very sensitised to latex may have a contact allergic reaction from other foods or plants containing profilin proteins, there is less evidence of this than sensitisation to other latex linked proteins like hevein and chitinases.
Those with a sensitivity to chitinase may have linked allergies to foods which contain high levels of chitinase, like avocado, chestnuts, corn (maize), kiwi, papaya, pomegranate and tomatoes.
If sensitised to ragweed pollen you may also have problems with melon, courgette, cucumber, and squash.
45% of latex allergy sufferers are also allergic to bananas.
Other foods containing thaumatin proteins are kiwi, chilli, peppers, apple, banana, cherry and peach.
If sensitised to LTP proteins you may also react to kiwi, strawberries, sunflower seeds, walnut, apple, mulberry, banana, pea, apricot, cherry, plum, almond, peach pomegranate, raspberry, tomato, grape, celery, peanut, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, chestnut, lemon, tangerine, orange, hazelnut, lettuce, lentils, lupin, green bean, pear, mustard, wheat and maize.
Banana is broadly linked to other fruit profilin allergies. Allergy to celery, peanut, lychee, soyabeans, walnut, lupin, almonds, mustard, hazelnut, kiwi, pineapple, chilli, melon, orange, strawberry, apple, banana, aubergine (eggplant), peach, pear, tomato, dates, cherry, carrot, barley and wheat. Allergic reactions to some of these foods may be considered a marker of profilin hypersensitivity.
Healthline - Banana Allergy
Allergy information for: Banana (Musa acuminata; Musa balbisiana(hybrid))
Thermofisher Allergen Encyclopedia - Banana
Articles and Journals
Identification of a thaumatin-like protein as a new allergen in persimmon (Diospyros kaki) with cross-reactivity with banana (Musa acuminata), 2021
Fruit-Induced Anaphylaxis: Clinical Presentation and Management, 2021
The Clinical Spectrum of Reactions Due to Banana Allergy, 2020
Banana anaphylaxis in Thailand: case series, 2020
Heterogeneity of banana allergy: characterization of allergens in banana-allergic patients, 2002
Class I chitinases as potential panallergens involved in the latex-fruit syndrome, 1999
Latex allergy: clinical features and cross-reactivity with fruits, 1994
Banana allergy in patients with immediate-type hypersensitivity to natural rubber latex: Characterization of cross-reacting antibodies and allergens, 1993
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