Sugar Beet Seed Allergy Test
Latin name: Beta vulgaris
Source material: Dried seeds
Family: Amaranthaceae (Chenopodiaceae)
Common names: Sugar-beet seed, Sugar beet seed
Sugar beet seed is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Sugar Beet Seed Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Sugar beet originated in Europe and the Middle East, but is now cultivated in temperate climates around the world. The plant is closely related to other beet cultivars such as beetroot and chard. The root of the sugar beet contains a high concentration of sucrose.
The principal use of the crop is for the production of sugar, and it supplies around one third of the world’s refined sugar, the rest being from sugar cane. Sugar derived from beets crystallises less well and is absorbed faster than cane sugar, making it a less desirable product.
The main producer of sugar beet is the EU, which is responsible for about half of total global production. Sugar beet seed is produced mainly in France and Italy.
The plant is an annual or biennial with dark green or reddish oval shaped leaves, usually arranged in a rosette shape. The seed itself is very small, comparable to about half a grain of rice, and grows in clusters within the fruit.
Sugar beet seeds are used solely as animal feed except for occasional culinary use such as in Indian or Pakistani traditional cooking. In some European countries, including Germany and the Czech Republic, sugar beet is also used in the distillation of vodka, and also a rum-like beverage.
A thick, dark syrup with a consistency similar to that of honey can be prepared from sugar beets, and in Germany this is commonly used as a topping for sandwiches, and also for sweetening sauces, cakes and desserts. This syrup can be further processed into a high-fructose syrup to be used commercially, similar in nature to high-fructose corn syrup.
Sugar Beet Seed Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No allergens present in sugar beet seed have yet been characterised, but a number of proteins have been isolated from the leaves.
Sugar Beet Seed Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
Extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus could be expected but has not been reported to occur clinically to date.
Sugar Beet Seed Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Sugar-beet seed may uncommonly induce allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals, predominantly in occupational settings such as the animal feed industry and farms.
In a prospective open study over 8 months in a group of 10 atopic children with repeated urticaria, based on oral challenge tests along with history, there were 3 cases of allergy to food colourings. Clinical features were mainly skin symptoms, sometimes associated with GI manifestations which were non specific.
Removal of the colorants resulted in the disappearance of the symptoms in a child (Red cochineal) and regression of symptoms in two others (Red cochineal, Red beet). It was not clear whether this is beetroot or sugar beet but both are closely related family members.
The fresh leaf may cause poisoning due to the 1% oxalic acid content. The leaf may also contain dangerous levels of HCN and/or nitrates and nitrites.