Maize/Corn Allergy Test
Latin name: Zea mays
Source material: Untreated planting seeds
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)
Common names: Maize, Corn, Sweet Corn, Indian Corn, Field Corn
Maize/Corn is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Maize/Corn Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
First cultivated in South and Central America by indigenous peoples as long as 10,000 years ago, maize is now grown around the world, although the bulk of production is in the United States. As well as being a staple food for humans, it is also an important crop in livestock rearing, food processing and other commercial activities.
Maize kernels may be eaten straight from the cooked cob or cut off and used in a variety of recipes, including succotash, custard, fritters, soups and chowders. They can also be toasted at high temperatures to produce the snack popcorn.
Maize is also used in mixed pickles and vegetable relishes. Cornmeal, grits, and hominy are prepared forms of maize kernels.
Maize is also used to produce various additives that have a wide range of usage, such as starch, syrup, dextrin, oil, and zein. Maize is a key component in the making of whiskey and other alcoholic products, and condensed milk.
Maize/Corn Allergy Test: Allergen Description
Various allergens present in maize have been characterised, among them a lipid transfer protein, a thioredoxin and two glutenins, as well as several allergens found in maize pollen.
Maize seed also contains the panallergen profilin, but at much lower levels than those found in maize pollen and in foods such as celery and tomato. This allergen is destroyed by heat, but may be of importance in scenarios where inhalation of raw dust or flour occurs.
Maize/Corn Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
An extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus could be expected. Cross-reactivity among maize, rice, soybean and peanut has been demonstrated in laboratory tests.
A high degree of cross-reactivity has been demonstrated among the lipid transfer proteins of peach, apple, walnut, hazelnut, peanut, maize, rice, sunflower seeds, french beans and apricot.
Maize/Corn Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Maize may moderately often sensitise or induce symptoms of food allergy in sensitised individuals. Allergic symptoms reported have included abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, rhinitis, asthma, angioedema, atopic dermatitis, and anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis has even occurred during double-blind, placebo-controlled Maize challenges.
Allergic reactions, including dermatitis, have been described with the maize by-products corn syrup, corn dextrimaltose, corn invert sugar, corn isomerised dextrose and corn d-psicose.
Patients allergic to maize seed may also be allergic to maize pollen.
Occupational exposure to maize, maize flour, or maize dust may result in occupational asthma or rhinitis, in particular in bakery workers, mill workers and those working in the animal feed industry.
Allergic reactions have also been reported to cornstarch powder when used as a glove lubricant. Symptoms included urticaria, intermittent episodes of dyspnoea, oculorhinitis, angioedema, and asthma.
Maize has been implicated as one of the causative foods of eosinophilic esophagitis, a disorder with symptoms suggestive of gastroesophageal reflux disease but unresponsive to conventional reflux therapies.
The dust of stored maize has been reported as a cause of respiratory symptoms, possibly due to contamination by moulds.