Banana Allergy Test
Latin name: Musa acuminata/sapientum/paradisiaca
Source material: Fruit
Common names: Banana, Plantain
Banana is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Banana Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Banana is a fruit originating in South East Asia which is grown in a variety of tropical regions around the world. The fruit producing plant grows to a height of up to 8 metres, with large leaves of up to 3.5 metres in length. The fruit grows in clusters called ‘hands’ with up to 20 fruit in each cluster. The fruit consists of an outer protective peel and inner fleshy portion.
The two main species are differentiated as ‘plantains’ and ‘(dessert) bananas’ with the former being generally cooked before consumption due to their higher starch content, and the latter more often eaten raw.
Bananas are easy to transport and store, and do not require refrigeration. Ripening may be delayed or sped up by atmospheric controls. The fruit is an excellent source of potassium, alongside other important minerals, and both variants are widely consumed around the world, with plantains being somewhat less popular in the western hemisphere.
Banana Allergy Test: Allergen Description
A range of allergens have been characterised as being present within bananas, as well as a number of antigenic proteins.
Banana Allergy Test: Potential Cross-reactivity
Approximately 42-50% of patients with latex allergy have hypersensitivity to some foods; avocado, banana, chestnut and kiwi are those most frequently detected. Therefore in banana-allergic patients, the co-existence of latex allergy should be considered. This is particularly advised where cases of urticaria or anaphylaxis exist without a known cause.
Banana also contains a profilin panallergen which has been shown to be extremely similar to other pollen and ingested profilins. Cross-reactivity between pollen and exotic foods (such as banana) containing profilin is therefore a potential issue. Allergy to banana can be considered as a marker of profilin hypersensitivity if LTP or latex sensitivity are not present.
In addition, allergenic correlation between banana and Platanus (London plane tree) pollen, hazelnut, peanut, and celery has been observed, and in individual cases links with sensitivity to avocado, melon and grape have been reported.
Associations between weed pollen allergy and hypersensitivity to certain kinds of food have also been observed, such as the ragweed-melon-banana association.
Banana Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Banana allergy has been reported in infancy as well as adulthood, with reported cases of individuals as young as 6 months old.
The allergenic effects of banana have been shown to increase with the ripeness of the fruit. Adverse reactions can include itching throat, ‘gassiness’ and indigestion, cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting, sore mouth or tongue, ‘canker sores’, swollen lips, wheezing, hoarseness, urticaria and other rashes, and angioedema. Reports have also shown presentation of oral allergy syndrome, urticaria and, in severe instances, anaphylaxis.
Adverse reactions have also been reported by patients ingesting artificial banana-flavoured additives, where these additives contain banana proteins. Examples have included medication flavoured with banana as well as banana scented hair conditioner.
Some individuals have reported migraine as a result of consumption of banana, potentially related to naturally occuring vasoactive substances such as serotonin and tyramine.