Tilapia Allergy Test
Latin name: Oreochromis sp.
Source material: Fillet
Tilapia is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Tilapia Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Tilapia refers to several species of mostly freshwater fish that belong to the cichlid family, and are found throughout the United States, Australia, and Africa.
Due to their low cost, ease of preparation and mild flavour, tilapia are an extremely popular food fish in a number of regions. In the United States, tilapia is the fourth most consumed fish after tuna, salmon and Alaskan pollock. The largest producer is China, which is responsible for over half of the global annual catch.
Tilapia is commonly served grilled, fried (often in batter) or baked, as well as being added to a variety of salads, stews, curries, tagines and soups. Popular regional recipes include tilapia masala, tilapia tacos, baked tilapia with potatoes and herbs or tilapia Milanese. As a mild flavoured and firm white fish, tilapia is also used as a cheaper replacement for cod or haddock in many recipes.
In some markets and restaurants, tilapia is fraudulently used as an undeclared substitute for more expensive fish including red snapper, grouper, tuna, and other species.
It is relatively low in fat and is an excellent source of high quality protein, as well as containing high levels of niacin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, selenium and potassium. It has a relatively low amount of omega-3 fatty acids compared to other fish, and higher amounts of omega-6, which is generally considered less beneficial to health.
Due to its vegetarian diet and lower position in the food chain, tilapia is one of the safer fish to eat in terms of mercury contamination, particularly when compared to fish such as tuna, sea bass, shark, and swordfish.
Tilapia Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No specific allergens present in tilapia have been fully characterised to date, although a number of proteins have been identified.
Tilapia Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
Species within groups of fish, like Gadiformes (examples: cod and hake) and Scombroid fishes (examples: mackerel and tuna) seem to share allergenic components. The overlap of allergen specificity between the groups seems to be moderate or even small.
Cross-reactivity to tilapia within the order Cichliformes can therefore be expected, which includes peacock bass, oscars, and jaguar guapotes.
Tilapia Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Sensitisation to fish allergen is common. Fish, including tilapia, is a potential cause of food allergy and atopic dermatitis.
Immediate allergic reactions may follow ingestion of even minute amounts of fish.
Symptoms can include oral allergy syndrome, generalised urticaria, facial angioedema and anaphylaxis.
Because patients react to both cooked and raw fish, it is assumed the allergens are heat-resistant. However, more recent studies indicate that patients may react differently to processed food and that allergic reactions may be species-specific.
It has been reported that some fish allergic persons can exhibit allergic symptoms due to the steam (airborne allergens) from cooking fish.
Fish allergy may sometimes be confused with a reaction to histamine present in spoiled fish.