Allergenicity evaluation of quinoa proteins - A study in Brown Norway rats

Anne-Sofie Ravn Ballegaard, Ana Isabel Sancho, Cui Zhou, Niels-Peter Hell Knudsen, Neil Marcus Rigby, Claus Heiner Bang-Berthelsen, Shashank Gupta, Alan Robert Mackie, Mette Lübeck, Kirsten Pilegaard, Katrine Lindholm Bøgh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The popularity of quinoa seeds has increased in the last decade due to their high nutritional value and natural gluten-free composition. Consumption of new proteins may pose a risk of introducing new allergies. In the present study the immunogenicity and sensitising capacity of quinoa proteins were assessed in a dose-response experiment in Brown Norway rats in comparison to proteins from spinach and peanut. Cross-reactivity between quinoa proteins and known allergens was evaluated by in silico analyses followed by analyses with 11 selected protein extracts and their anti-sera by means of ELISAs and immunoblotting. Further, an in vitro simulated gastro-duodenal digestion was performed. Quinoa proteins were found to have an inherent medium to high immunogenicity and sensitising capacity, being able to induce specific IgG1 and IgE levels higher than spinach but lower than peanut and elicit reactions of clinical relevance similar to peanut. Quinoa proteins were generally shown to resist digestion and retain capacity to bind quinoa-specific antibodies. Quinoa proteins were shown to be cross-reactive with peanut and tree nut allergens as high sequence homology and antibody cross-binding were demonstrated. Present study suggests that quinoa pose a medium to high level of allergenicity that should be further investigated in human studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114118
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • In silico
  • Digestibility
  • Animal study
  • Immunogenicity
  • Allergenicity
  • Food allergy
  • 11S globulin
  • IgE


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