Skip to main content

Table 2 Gaps identified in the current risk assessment and recommendations for further research.

From: COST Action ‘ImpARAS’: what have we learnt to improve food allergy risk assessment. A summary of a 4 year networking consortium

Methods and toolsFeatures and limitationsRecommendations for further research
Allergen databasesDifferent databases provide different levels of information; Some of them are not regularly updated/curated and therefore relevant information is missing or available information outdated;
Inclusion criteria for allergenic proteins vary for individual databases
Linking of existing (allergen) databases; Harmonisation of inclusion criteria for allergens;
Experimental studies in B- and T cell epitopes and implications on cross- reactivity;
Improving predictive algorithms for sensitising potential of proteins linked with and without clinical relevance;
Analytical methodsHighly sensitive and advanced methods available for protein characterisation;
Sample preparation especially for complex food extracts is sometimes difficult (lack of harmonised protocols);
Harmonisation of method protocols; Improvements in sample preparation; Generation of scientific evidence of certain structural determinants (glycosylation, aggregation etc.) linked with increased allergenicity, which is currently lacking;
IgE binding assaysWell standardised reference assays including reference proteins are missing. In case of novel proteins, no reference material is available; If sIgE is not available, animal-derived antibodies can be used;Identification and generation of suitable reference proteins;
Digestion assaysDifferent protocols for protein digestion are available; However,
harmonised protocols are needed;
Lack of guidance how to interpret data, and lack of reference material;
Evidence of linking protein stability and de novo sensitisation is missing;
Development of reference materials and harmonised protocols;
Performance of harmonised digestion assays in ring trials with reference materials;
Animal studies on comparative digestion and de novo sensitisation;
Food processing techniquesKnowledge on food processing and its impact on allergenicity is incomplete on a qualitative and quantitative level. Limited knowledge about the most effective methods (combinations), including novel processing techniques;More data on processed food proteins and their allergenicity required;
To identify the most important (combination of) processing techniques with an impact on allergenicity;
Food matrixAnalytical methods are established—but limited data are available showing a link of food matrix components to allergenicity;
Limited knowledge available about food components and their interaction with allergens;
Studies required on food matrix composition and interaction with individual food proteins in model systems;
Identification of relevant immunomodulating food matrix components;
Biological assaysCellular and animal models are established but reliable assays for detection of de novo sensitisation are lackingMethod development to assess protein ligand binding and impact on innate and adaptive immune responses;
Identification of biomarkers for de novo sensitisation