Gum Arabic Allergy Test
Latin name: Acacia spp.
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Common names: Gum arabic, Arabic gum, Acacia gum
Gum arabic is a food additive, which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Gum Arabic Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Gum arabic is a gummy substance derived from trees of the species Acacia senegal and its close relatives. It has been used by humans for thousands of years, and today is found in Sudan, Senegal, Nigeria and other semi-arid regions. A distinguishing characteristic among natural gums is that gum arabic dissolves rapidly in water.
It is primarily used as a thickener, emulsifier, and stabiliser, and a glazing and flavouring agent. It is often used to retard sugar crystallisation.
It is considered a valuable food in parts of Asia and Africa. It is a complex polysaccharide, primarily indigestible to both humans and animals, not degraded in the intestine, but fermented in the colon under the influence of microorganisms.
Apple fiber and Gum arabic have been reported to lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in men with mild hypercholesterolemia.
Additionally, gum arabic is a demulcent in cosmetics and medicines. It is a common ingredient in toiletries. It is an anti-offset agent in printing, and is also important in lithography, in the manufacture of inks and adhesives, in the textile industry and in the production of galactose.
Combretum gums may unscrupulously be offered for sale as “Gum arabic”, however these gums differ greatly from gum arabic.
Gum Arabic Allergy Test: Allergen Description
In a study, Gum arabic-specific IgE antibodies of a patient were directed mainly against the carbohydrate fraction of the material.
Gum Arabic Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
An extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus could be expected but in fact is not seen frequently.
Cross-allergenicity has been demonstrated among the extracts of peanut, garden pea, chick pea, and soybean, however, clinical studies have found that there is little cross-reactivity among members of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae).
Cross-reactivity between Gum arabic and Tragacanth gum has been reported.
Gum Arabic Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Gum arabic may uncommonly induce symptoms of asthma, allergic rhinitis, eczema, contact dermatitis and food allergy in sensitised individuals.
Occupations where workers may be exposed to Gum arabic include cosmetics, ceramics, fireworks, carpet and other textile manufacturing, the food and pharmaceutical industries, hairdressing, printing, and mining.
Allergic rhinitis, asthma and eczema caused by Gum arabic in workers in a candy factory have been reported.
Occupational allergy from mist inhalation in printers has been reported and is called “Printer’s Asthma”. Allergy reactions have also been reported in patients working in the pottery and lithography industries and occupational asthma in printers and carpet manufacturers.
Chronic alveolitis due to repeated and prolonged inhalation of sweets containing Gum arabic has been reported.