Aubergine is in the Solanes
family of plant which also includes peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. Foods in this group are also known as Nightshades
In Europe we know this vegetable as Aubergine, in the US and Australia it is known as eggplant and in Asia it is more commonly called brinjal.
The key allergen in aubergine is Sola m 1 which is a profilin protein
. This group of proteins are responsible for growth and maintenance in the outer part of the plant. Profilins are the proteins responsible for airway allergies to birch, grass and other pollens.
There is increasing evidence that there are Lipid Transfer Protein
in aubergine, again, these proteins are panallergens that cause allergies across multiple foods.
Aubergine is one of the few vegetable which is naturally high in histamine
so should be avoided if you follow a low histamine diet.
Aubergine is a food high in salicylates
, so has the potential to cause gastrointestinal food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.
Aubergine is one of the few vegetables to contain a moderate amount of lectins
, another cause of food intolerance. Cooking foods with lectins makes them more digestible and can reduce the symptoms of food intolerance.
Aubergine is a low FODMAP food. FODMAP
stands for F
olyols. Foods high in FODMAPs can cause symptoms of food intolerance, affecting the gastro intestinal system and this can be mistaken for a true IgE food allergy.
You can read more about Food Intolerances
on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.
Allergy to aubergine 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 aubergine 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.
Aubergine allergy is being increasingly linked to LTP Syndrome
If sensitised to grass pollen you may also react to melon, watermelon, tomatoes, oranges, potatoes and peanuts.
Other foods containing profilin proteins are kiwi, pineapple, celery, peanut, chilli, watermelon, orange, hazelnut, melon, strawberry, soya, barley, walnut, lychee, lupin, apple, banana, date, cherry, almond, peach, pear, mustard, carrot, tomato and wheat.
Common foods involved in LTP allergy include kiwi, strawberries, sunflower seeds, walnut, apple, mulberry, banana, pea, apricot, cherry, plum, almond, peach pomegranate, raspberry, tomato, grape, celery, peanut, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, tomato, chestnut, lemon, tangerine, orange, hazelnut, lettuce, lentils, lupin, green bean, pear, mustard, wheat and maize.
Please note these food lists are not exhaustive. The most up to date information is on the Cross Reactivity Tool.
Anaphylaxis Campaign - Allergy to Vegetables
How to Recognize an Eggplant Allergy
Could you have a nightshade allergy?
Allergen Encyclopedia - Aubergine
Science Direct - Profilins
Food Intolerance Network - Histamine Food List
Histamine Intolerance Food List
ATP Science - Salicylate Foods
Healthline - FODMAP Foods
Articles and Journals
Nightshade Vegetables: A Dietary Trigger for Worsening Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome? 2023
Prevalence and clinical features of pollen-food allergy syndrome in adults with seasonal allergic rhinitis , 2023
Prevalence, clinical presentation, and associated atopic diseases of pediatric fruit and vegetable allergy: A population-based study, 2022
The diagnosis and management of allergic reactions in patients sensitized to non-specific lipid transfer proteins, 2021
Solanum melongena allergy (A comprehensive review), 2021
Identification, cloning, and immunological studies on a major eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) allergen Sola m 1: A new member of profilin allergen family, 2020
Recurrent anaphylaxis in patient allergic to eggplant – a Lipid transfer protein (LTP) syndrome, 2018
Aubergine and Potato Sensitivity with Latex Sensitisation and Oral Allergy Syndrome, 2013
Profilins: mimickers of allergy or relevant allergens? 2011
Higher Histamine Sensitivity in Non-atopic Subjects by Skin Prick Test May Result in Misdiagnosis of Eggplant Allergy, 2009
Clinico-Immunological Analysis of Eggplant (Solanum melongena) Allergy Indicates Preponderance of Allergens in the Peel, 2009
Cross-reactivity between fruit and vegetables, 2003
Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful.
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