Scientists in Greensboro North Carolina have recently announced the development of a ‘hypo-allergenic’ peanut. The new nut may allow some of the more than 3 million people suffering from peanut allergies to enjoy foods containing peanuts.
The scientific breakthrough reduces the concentration of the top two allergens contained in peanuts. While some allergy sufferers may still be sensitive to the peanut, many others will experience a much less severe reaction to the new nut than to regular peanuts.
The project to develop a low-allergen peanut began in 2005 and is led by scientist Dr. Jainmei Yu. Speaking about how the peanut was developed, he said “Fermentation of peanuts can reduce the major allergen levels in the peanut” According to Yu, the scientists discovered that treating the peanuts with food-grade enzymes significantly reduced concentrations of the two main allergens in peanuts, known as A-R-A H1 and A-R-A h4.
The researchers are optimistic that the new peanut will be available in stores soon, although there is no timeline for that yet. The next step is clinical trials led by UNC Chapel Hill. With over 90 percent of those with peanut allergies exhibiting allergic reactions to the two allergens removed by this breakthrough, the new low-allergy peanut offers the promise of being able to eat peanuts without risking one’s health.