The effect of baking and digestion on the allergenicity of wheat flour proteins has been studied. Pooled sera of patients suffering from food allergy to wheat products were tested for IgE binding to the proteins of the wheat dough and of the bread crumb and crust, before and after being in vitro digested. During in vitro digestion, the IgE binding protein components of the unheated dough tended to disappear, whereas a permanence of IgE recognition was evident for both the bread crumb and crust. This indicates that the baking process increases the resistance of the potential allergens of the wheat flour to proteolytic digestion, allowing them to reach the gastrointestinal tract, where they can elicit the immunological response. Therefore, the effects of baking must be carefully considered in studying food allergies to wheat products.
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