Insect allergens on the dining table

Kyoung Yong Jeong, Jung Won Park

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Edible insects are important sources of nutrition, particularly in Africa, Asia, and Latin Amer-ica. Recently, edible insects have gained considerable interest as a possible solution to global exhaustion of the food supply with population growth. However, little attention has been given to the adverse reactions caused by insect consumption. Here, we provide an overview of the food allergens in edible insects and offer insights for further studies. Most of the edible insect allergens identified to date are highly cross-reactive invertebrate pan-allergens such as tropomyosin and arginine kinase. Allergic reactions to these allergens may be cross-reactions resulting from sensitization to shellfish and/or house dust mites. No unique insect allergen specifically eliciting a food allergy has been described. Many of the edible insect allergens described thus far have counterpart allergens in cockroaches, which are an important cause of respiratory allergies, but it is questionable whether inhalant allergens can cause food allergies. Greater effort is needed to characterize the allergens that are unique to edible insects so that safe edible insects can be developed. The changes in insect proteins upon food processing or cooking should also be examined to enhance our understanding of edible insect food allergies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-169
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Protein and Peptide Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Korea Healthcare Technology R&D Project through Korean Healthcare Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), which is funded by Republic of Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare (HI14C1324).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Bentham Science Publishers.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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