Peanut Allergy Protection

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About 2.8 million people, almost 1 percent of the U.S. population, suffer from a serious allergic reaction to peanuts, hindering them from enjoying creamy peanut butter and many other food products. While this allergy can be maintained, it can be extremely severe for some who ingest even a small amount of peanuts, resulting in low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, swelling of the tongue, eyes or face and, in some cases, even death.

Researchers at North Carolina A&T State University are working to provide relief to those with peanut allergies with a recent agreement to commercialize hypoallergenic peanuts, which can reduce harmful allergens by 98 percent.

The university recently signed an agreement with Xemerge: a Toronto-based company that helps to market and commercialize emerging technologies in agriculture.

In an article posted earlier this year on N.C. A&T State University’s website, the chief commercialization officer at Xemerge says the technology used for the hypoallergenic peanut is one of the best he’s ever seen.

“It checks all the boxes: non-GMO, human clinical data, doesn’t change physical characteristics of the peanut along with maintaining the nutrition and functionality needed, ready for industry integration from processing to consumer products,” he says.

Two former A&T faculty members and a current food and nutrition researcher at the university helped develop the process, which consists of soaking peanuts in an enzymatic solution, in hopes to create a safer peanut for those with allergies. These peanuts can also be used in immunotherapy under a doctor’s supervision, resulting in a stronger immune system that can build up a patient’s resistance.

Learn more about hypoallergenic peanuts and A&T’s research at ncat.edu/research/alrgn.html.

– Rachel Bertone

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