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Keywords:

  • Allergenicity;
  • Dynamic;
  • In vitro digestion model;
  • Protease;
  • Sensitisation

Abstract

This article reviews the in vitro digestion models developed to assess the stability of food allergens during digestion. It is hypothesised that food allergens must exhibit sufficient gastro-intestinal stability to reach the intestinal mucosa where absorption and sensitisation (development of atopy) can occur. The investigation of stability of proteins within the gastrointestinal tract may provide prospective testing for allergenicity and could be a significant and valid parameter that distinguishes food allergens from nonallergens. Systematic evaluation of the stability of food allergens that are active via the gastrointestinal tract is currently tested in traditional pepsin digestibility models. The human gastrointestinal tract however is very complex and this article points out the importance of using physiologically relevant in vitro digestion systems for evaluating digestibility of allergens. This would involve the simulation of the stomach/small intestine environment (multi-phase models) with sequential addition of digestive enzymes, surfactants such as phospholipids and bile salts under physiological conditions, as well as the consideration of the effect of the food matrices on the allergen digestion.