Crustaceans are a group of invertebrates which include lobster, prawn, scampi, crab and shrimp. Note in Europe that crustaceans and molluscs are considered to be 2 separate food groups whose allergens need to be declared in packaged food. In the US these are both grouped under the term 'shellfish'.
The WHO allergen index covers 21 species of crustaceans linked to allergic reactions and 7 main groups of allergens.
15 species of invertebrates have been found to contain the allergen Tropomyosin, which is a protein found in exoskeletons.
Arginine Kinase allergens have been found in 6 species, mostly in shrimp.
Myosin allergens have been found in 6 species, mostly shrimp and crab. Myosin is a protein found in animals involved in movement and muscle contraction.
Sarcoplasmic calcium binding protein allergens have been found in 5 species of shrimp and crab. These are proteins found in the muscle of crustaceans.
These identified allergens are related to food allergy - there are an additional 146 allergens identified in this group which link to airborne and airway allergens, which means just cooking crustaceans can be a problem for sufferers of this allergy.
Crustacean Allergy is not currently linked with any allergic syndromes.
Crustacean allergy is linked to shellfish allergy; oysters, abalone, squid and snail all contain the main allergen - tropomyosin.
Catfish, some types of salmon and tilapia are types of fish which have also been identified as containing the allergen tropomyosin, there may be cross reactivity between eating certain types of fish and crustaceans.
There is a link between insect allergies and crustacean allergy, this is again attributed to the common allergen - tropomyosin. This is tropomyosin as an airborne allergen in dust mites, termites, cockroaches and silverfish.
Allergen Encyclopedia - Crab
Allergen Encyclopedia - Shrimp
Science Direct - Tropomyosin
ACAAI - Shellfish Allergy
Food Allergy Canada - Crustaceans and Molluscs
Anaphylaxis Campaign - Shellfish
Articles and Journals
Prevalence and Characteristics of Shellfish Allergy in the Pediatric Population of the United States, 2020
Cross-allergenicity of crustacean and the edible insect Gryllus bimaculatus in patients with shrimp allergy, 2019
Crustacean Allergy in South Africa, 2017
Shellfish allergens: tropomyosin and beyond, 2016
In vivo diagnosis with purified tropomyosin in mite and shellfish allergic patients, 2016
Insects and Their Connection to Food Allergy, 2016
Shrimp allergy beyond Tropomyosin in Italy: clinical relevance of Arginine Kinase, Sarcoplasmic calcium binding protein and Hemocyanin, 2014
Snow crab allergy and asthma among Greenlandic workers – a pilot study, 2012
Selective Allergy to Lobster in a Case of Primary Sensitization to House Dust Mites, 2009
Tropomyosin: An Invertebrate Pan–Allergen, 1999
Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful.
If you spot an article or research that you think is interesting you can message me or tag me on Facebook or Twitter - links at the bottom of the page.