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Researchers have found that treating roasted peanut kernels with alpha-chymotrypsin or trypsin enzymes for one to three hours significantly increases the solubility of peanut protein, as well as reduces Ara h 1 and Ara h 2 in kernel extracts by 100% and 98%, respectively. The study, published in Food Chemistry, investigated the use of enzymatic treatments to reduce the levels of allergens in peanut kernels, using two major peanut allergens (Ara h 1 and Ara h 2) as indicators of effectiveness.
The researchers noted that the blanching of kernels enhanced the effectiveness of enzyme treatment in roasted peanuts.
Trypsin treatment of roasted peanuts also significantly reduced Ara h 1 and Ara h 2 while increasing the soluble proteins in both blanched and non-blanched soluble extracts, they added.
Consumption of peanuts or peanut-containing food products can cause severe and even fatal allergenic reactions.
“Results from this study indicate the potential for producing peanuts with reduced allergenicity using post-harvest processing approaches such as food-grade enzymatic treatment,” said the authors, led by senior author Soheila Maleki from the Agricultural Research Service at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Washington, D.C..