Snail is one of the worst causes of food allergy. Thus, the aim of this study was to identify the major and minor allergens of the local marine snail (Cerithidea obtusa) and subsequently to investigate the impacts of heat treatment on the IgE-binding activity of snail allergens. Proteins from raw and heat-treated snails (boiled, roasted and fried) were extracted and then resolved by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Immunoblotting of all extracts were then performed using sera from patients with snail allergy. The results showed that the raw extract contains numerous protein bands between 12 to>250 kDa. Some thermostable proteins, predominantly the 33 and 42 kDa bands, remained detected in all cooked extracts with decreasing intensities from boiled to roasted to fried extracts, while the majority of thermolabile bands denatured after heating. Boiled snail had more protein bands compared to roasted and fried snails. Immunoblotting of raw extract demostrated 19 IgE-binding bands ranging from 15 to 240 kDa. The thermostable bands of 33 and 42 kDa and a thermolabile of 30 kDa band were identified as the major allergens of this snail. The cooked extracts yielded less allergenic bands. The boiled extract yielded approximately 14 IgE-binding bands with some smeared bands at high molecular weight regions. The roasted extract had lesser IgE-binding bands and the majority appeared as smears, while the IgE-reactivity in the fried extract was less visible and appeared as weak smears. This study indicated that both raw and cooked snails played a crucial role in snail allergenicity, as this species of snail contains both thermostable and thermolabile major allergens. The degree of snail allergenicity was revealed in the order: raw> boiled > roasted> fried. Thus, the results would facilitate in the development of effective diagnosis and management strategies of snail allergy in this country.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.