The allergen of Ficus benjamina in house dust

Authors


Dr A. J. Bircher, Allergy Unit, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, Petcrsgraben 4, CH-4031 Basel, Switzerland.

Summary

Ficus benjamina, a member of the Moraceae family, is a tropical, non-flowering green plant which is widely used for ornamental purposes. It is an occupational allergen in plant keepers but sensitization is also increasingly found in non-occupationally exposed atopic and non-atopic patients. The allergen of Ficus benjamina is located in the plant sap, also-called latex. By radioallergosorbent test-(RAST)-inhibition studies allergen could also be demonstrated in the dust collected from the leaf surface and in dust samples from the floor of rooms where the plant was placed. These findings could result in more extensive preventive measures in patients sensitized to Ficus benjamina, In addition there is some evidence that possibly a crossreactivity between latex of Ficus benjamina and latex from the rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis, a member of the Euphorbiaceae family, may exist.

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