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Thaumatin Proteins

This is a simplified description of thaumatin proteins – there are more resources available at the bottom of the page for further reading for those who are interested in knowing more.

What are thaumatin proteins?

Thaumatins are a lesser known allergen found in plants. It gives plants the sweet taste and is often used as an additive to foods to add flavour. It is also sometimes referred to as thaumatin-like proteins (TLP).

Thaumatin proteins have been shown to maintain their shape after thermal processing and are resistant to digestive enzymes. This makes them an important allergenic protein of note.

Which foods contain Thaumatin proteins?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises 6 foods as containing thaumatin proteins known to cause allergic reactions after consumption of food.

Chilli, kiwi, apple, cherry, banana and peach all contain thaumatin proteins. More recent studies have suggested that garlic, persimmon, orange and elderberry also contains thaumatin proteins. The most up to date information for foods containing thaumatins are on the Cross Reactivity Tool.

Which pollens contain thaumatin proteins?

There are 4 pollen allergens associated with Thaumatin proteins including Japanese cedar, olive tree, nettle, common cypress and common cedar trees.

Thaumatin is also well documented as being present in Cannabis sativa, the plant processed to make cannabis and hemp (marijuana) products.

What symptoms do they cause?

Allergy to foods containing thaumatins have a wide range of symptoms and severity including urticaria (hives or welts), angioedema (swelling under the skin), nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting or breathlessness and anaphylactic shock.

What is the importance of knowing whether a reaction is to thaumatin proteins or other allergens?

Multiple allergies are becoming more common and this often leads people to impose a strict restrictive diet on themselves. This can lead to a poor diet lacking in essential nutrients and frustration over a lack of eating options. Knowing which foods are the most likely to be causing your reactions can bring more options back into your diet.

This is why food diaries continue to be an important tool in diagnosis of your allergies – noting the times reactions took place and what medications were taken are a necessary starting point for a proper diagnosis.

There is more information on food diaries HERE.


Science Direct - Thaumatin

Articles and Journals

In silico approaches for the identification of potential allergens among hypothetical proteins from Alternaria alternata and its functional annotation, 2024

Allergens responsible of Olive fruit ingestion anaphylaxis, 2023

Exploring the thaumatin-like protein (TLP) as a candidate cannabis allergen in North-Western Europe, 2023

Food Allergens of Plant Origin, 2023

An Overview of Fruit Allergens: Structural, Functional, Phylogenetical, and Clinical Aspects, 2023

Allergy to persimmon (Diospyros kaki): A Chitinase and Thaumatin like protein, two new identified allergens, 2023

Food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis to orange, with possible underlying thaumatin-like protein allergy, 2023

Avocado allergy. Identification of a new allergen, 2022

Comprehensive Review on Banana Fruit Allergy: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, Management, and Potential Modification of Allergens through Food Processing, 2022

Non-specific lipid-transfer proteins: Allergen structure and function, cross-reactivity, sensitization, and epidemiology, 2021

Thaumatin-Like Protein (Pru av 2) is a cherry allergen that triggers percutaneous sensitization in mice, 2021c Cannabis allergy: what the clinician needs to know in 2019

Cannabis sativa allergy: looking through the fog, 2017

Prevalence of Sensitization to Cannabis sativa. Lipid-Transfer and Thaumatin-Like Proteins Are Relevant Allergens, 2013

The Involvement of Thaumatin-Like Proteins in Plant Food Cross-Reactivity: A Multicenter Study Using a Specific Protein Microarray, 2012

Characterization of peach thaumatin-like proteins and their identification as major peach allergens, 2010

Thaumatin-like protein and baker's respiratory allergy, 2010

Panallergens and their impact on the allergic patient, 2010

Mal d 2, the Thaumatin-Like Allergen from Apple, Is Highly Resistant to Gastrointestinal Digestion and Thermal Processing, 2008

Thaumatin-like proteins – a new family of pollen and fruit allergens, 2004

Isolation and biochemical characterization of a thaumatin-like kiwi allergen, 2002

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.

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