Japanese Millet Allergy Test
Latin name: Echinochloa crus-galli
Source material: Peeled seeds
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)
Common names: Japanese millet, Cockspur, Barnyard grass, Sawa millet
Japanese millet is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Japanese Millet Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
The term millet covers the seeds of a broad range of taxonomically distinct species of grass.
Japanese millet (and the other plants bearing the name millet) are not close relatives of wheat or other cereals, and tend to be cultivated in areas where more popular cereal crops are unable to flourish. They are also ideal where a swift yield is more desirable than a large one, for example in nomadic communities, as the plant matures quickly.
First domesticated in around 2000 BC in Japan, Japanese millet is today cultivated on a small scale in India, Japan, China, and Korea, both as a food and for animal fodder. It is usually grown in areas where rice cultivation is not possible, either due to the available land or the climate.
It is an annual grass which yields seedheads containing multiple small seeds, covered by a thin, paper-like hull, which can be removed effectively via threshing.
Cultivation of Japanese millet has consequently declined in recent years as new strains of rice have been developed which can withstand harsher climates.
Japanese millet is also cultivated in the United States as a forage crop, producing as many as eight harvests each year.
Japanese Millet Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No allergens present in Japanese millet have yet been characterised.
A number of proteins have been isolated and described as occurring in Japanese millet. The allergenic potential of these proteins was, however, not evaluated.
Japanese Millet Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
Studies have not reported cross-reactivity between millet and barley, maize, oats, wheat, or grass pollen.
Cross-allergenicity among rice, wheat, maize, japanese millet and foxtail millet has been shown. The clinical relevance of the relevant allergen was not however examined.
Japanese Millet Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Hypersensitivity to cereals may occur via inhalation or ingestion, however reported allergy to Japanese millet is rare.
With the increasing popularity of “natural foods”, millet of various types, including Japanese millet, is more frequently included in various dishes, which might raise the incidence of millet-related allergic reactions.
Also, patients with adverse reactions to gluten, such as those with coeliac disease, may substitute millet for gluten-containing cereals thus increasing the frequency with which it is consumed.
Crude extracts of Japanese millet may contain aflatoxins.
Millet diets rich in C-glycosylflavones are goitrogenic, which means that they can interfere with the uptake of iodine by the thyroid. When not enough iodine is available, this affects the production of certain hormones in the thyroid, and ultimately can cause enlargement of the gland, known as goitre. This effect can often be offset by supplementing with iodine.