Papaya is a fruit in the Caricaceae
family of plants. It is sometimes called paw paw. This family of plants are usually found in South and Central America.
There are 2 allergens in papaya fruit recognised by the World Health Organization, Cari p 1 is a polygalacturonase (PG) and is responsible in part for ripening of fruit. This protein is usually a pollen allergen found in cedar and cypress trees. In food allergy PGs are responsible for oral allergy type symptoms as the patient first becomes sensitised to the pollen of this plant and then to the fruit.
A second allergen, Cari p 2, was identified in early 2020, it is a cysteine protease protein and is most likely the cause of the link to latex allergies
Papaya 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.
Papayas are a food low in salicylates. Salicylates
have the potential to cause gastrointestinal food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.
You can read more about Food Intolerances
on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.
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.
No other foods contain polygalacturonase, but it is found in the pollen of cedar, plane, cypress and olive trees as well as Timothy grass.
Other foods containing cysteine protease are kiwi and potatoes. These proteins also airway allergens and are found in dust mites and ragweed pollen.
Note the food lists are not exhaustive, the most up to date lists are on the Cross Reactivity Tool.
Allergen Encyclopedia - Papaya
DermNet NZ - Latex Allergy
Science Direct - Chymopapain
Food Allergy to Papaya
Articles and Journals
High pan-allergen content in mango and peach in Taiwan, 2023
Analysis of Protein Sequence Identity, Binding Sites, and 3D Structures Identifies Eight Pollen Species and Ten Fruit Species with High Risk of Cross-Reactive Allergies, 2022
Allergen Tests of Fruit Sensitization Involving Children with Allergic Diseases, 2022
Cloning and immunobiochemical analyses on recombinant chymopapain allergen Cari p 2 showing pollen-fruit cross-reaction, 2021
Molecular Characterization of Chymopapain: A Major Allergen Associated with Papaya Allergy, 2020
Cari p 1, a Novel Polygalacturonase Allergen From Papaya Acting as Respiratory and Food Sensitizer, 2018
Latex-Papaya Syndrome: An association infrequent but of great relevance, 2017
Food allergy - "papaya: pear or pain", 2010
Class I chitinases as potential panallergens involved in the latex-fruit syndrome, 1999
Carica papaya pollen allergy, 1998
Latex allergy: clinical features and cross-reactivity with fruits, 1994
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