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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Primary and Secondary Prevention of Peanut and Tree Nut Allergy

Location: Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research

Title: Distribution of peanut protein in the home environment

Authors
item Brough, Helen -
item Makinson, Kerry -
item Penagos, Martin -
item Maleki, Soheila
item Cheng, Hsiaopo
item Stephens, A C -
item Turcanu, Victor -
item Lack, Gideon -

Submitted to: Journal of Allergy Clinical Immunology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 28, 2013
Publication Date: September 13, 2013
Citation: Brough, H.A., Makinson, K., Penagos, M., Maleki, S.J., Cheng, H., Stephens, A., Turcanu, V., Lack, G. 2013. Distribution of peanut protein in the home environment. Journal of Allergy Clinical Immunology. 132(3):623-629.

Interpretive Summary: In order to reduce the rise in peanut allergy, we must determine how children become sensitized to peanut. High household peanut consumption used as an indirect marker of environmental peanut exposure is associated with the development of peanut allergy. We wanted to validate a method to quantify environmental peanut exposure, determine how peanut might be transferred into the environment following peanut consumption, and whether peanut persists on surfaces despite cleaning. Following initial comparative studies between three commercial enzyme-linked immune assays (ELISA) kits, we validated and used a polyclonal peanut ELISA to assess peanut protein concentration in dust on household surfaces, in air, and on hand wipes and saliva. The polyclonal peanut ELISA had the best rate of recovery of an independent peanut standard. There was high within-home correlation for peanut protein levels in dust and household surfaces. Aerosolized peanut protein could not be detected in a number of simulated scenarios, only briefly directly above peanuts being deshelled. Peanut protein persisted on hands and in saliva three hours after consumption, and on wood and laminate table surfaces. Peanut spreads easily around the home, and may be resistant to usual cleaning methods. Peanut protein may be transferred into the environment via hand transfer and saliva, but is unlikely to be aerosolized. Environmental peanut protein may be an important mechanism of peanut sensitization. This study validates a method to quantify environmental peanut exposure for use in future studies.

Technical Abstract: In order to halt the rise in peanut allergy, we must determine how children become sensitized to peanut. High household peanut consumption used as an indirect marker of environmental peanut exposure is associated with the development of peanut allergy. We want to validate a method to quantify environmental peanut exposure, determine how peanut might be transferred into the environment following peanut consumption, and whether peanut persists on surfaces despite cleaning. Following initial comparative studies between three ELISA kits, we validated and used a polyclonal peanut ELISA to assess peanut protein concentration in dust on household surfaces, in air, and on hand wipes and saliva. The polyclonal peanut ELISA had the best rate of recovery of an independent peanut standard. We demonstrated 100% sensitivity, specificity, and <15% coefficient of variation for intra-assay, inter-assay, and inter-operator variability. There was high within-home correlation for peanut protein levels in dust and household surfaces. Aerosolized peanut protein could not be detected in a number of simulated scenarios, only briefly directly above peanuts being deshelled. Peanut protein persisted on hands and in saliva three hours after peanut consumption, and on wood and laminate table surfaces after spiking with peanut, despite vigorous detergent cleaning. Peanut spreads easily around the home, and may be resistant to usual cleaning methods. Peanut protein may be transferred into the environment via hand transfer and saliva, but is unlikely to be aerosolized. Environmental peanut protein may be an important mechanism of peanut sensitization. This study validates a method to quantify environmental peanut exposure for use in future studies.

Last Modified: 11/21/2014
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