Paprika/Sweet Pepper Allergy Test
Latin name: Capsicum annuum
Source material: Dried fruit (powder)
Common names: Sweet Pepper, Paprika, Bell Pepper, Green Pepper, Hungarian Pepper, Red Pepper, Pimento, Pimiento
Paprika/Sweet pepper is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
NB: Not to be confused with either the related species Capsicum frutescens (Chili pepper) or the unrelated species in the family Piperaceae (white and black pepper).
Paprika/Sweet Pepper Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Sweet pepper is used mainly as a vegetable. It usually has a mild, sweet flavor, and is eaten raw or cooked. Peppers are often found as a vegetable in stews and salads. The young leaves of the plant are steamed or added to soups and stews. The flowers can also be eaten either raw or cooked.
Paprika is a powdered spice produced from dried sweet peppers which is used in a variety of cuisines around the world. It has a relatively mild flavour when compared to chili powder.
The majority of sweet peppers are grown in China; the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Hawaii, Iraq, Japan, Malaya, Mexico, Spain, Hungary and Turkey. Paprika is produced mainly in Spain, South America, California and Hungary.
Peppers are a good source of dietary antioxidants, as well as flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoids, vitamin A, ascorbic acid, and tocopherols.
Paprika/Sweet Pepper Allergy Test: Allergen Description
Two allergens present in sweet pepper have been fully characterised, a thaumatin-like protein and an osmotin-like protein.
In addition profilin and a Bet v 1 homologue have been detected.
Paprika/Sweet Pepper Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
An extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus could be expected. Cross reactive material from the related species tobacco has been identified in eggplants, sweet pepper, potato, and tomato.
Furthermore, cross-reactivity to other plants containing the panallergens profilin and Bet v 1 homologues can be expected to occur frequently.
Reports have shown a high frequency of sensitisation to sweet pepper in latex-allergic patients.
Partial cross-reactivity was found between paprika and mace, but the clinical relevance of this has not been determined.
Paprika/Sweet Pepper Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Sweet pepper or spices made from sweet pepper may induce symptoms of food allergy, rhinitis and contact dermatitis in sensitised individuals. Urticaria as a result of contact with paprika has been documented.
Contact dermatitis, contact allergy and protein contact dermatitis have been frequently reported.
In one study of 103 patients with suspected contact allergy to spices, the highest numbers of reactions were found to nutmeg (28%), paprika (19%) and cloves (12%)
Among 472 sweet pepper greenhouse employees, work-related symptoms were reported in 53.8%. Sensitisation to the sweet pepper plant was found in 35.4%. Positive reactions to leaf, stem and/or juice, however, were associated in nearly 90% with sensitisation to pollen, which appeared to be the most important allergen of the plant.
The complexity of the relationship of allergens, the degree of individual variability, and the severity of the reactions are illustrated by a spice-and-condiment seller who experienced occupational-related anaphylaxis and concurrent rhinoconjunctivits caused by intake of sweet pepper. The patient tolerated other species in the family Solanaceae.
Pungent peppers may cause painful irritation when used in excess, or after accidental contact with the eyes.
Erythema multiforme-like contact dermatitis has been reported.