Kids (and adults) with severe allergies to peanuts could someday be able to enjoy the nuts, hope North Carolina-based researchers who are developing a process of treating peanuts to render them hypoallergenic. Reuters has more:
Researchers from North Carolina's Agricultural and Technical State University have developed a patented process that reduces peanut allergens by up to 98 percent. Allergens are the substances that trigger allergic reactions. The new process reduces them by soaking de-shelled and roasted peanuts in a solution of food-grade enzymes.
The treated peanuts are made to look and taste like regular roasted peanuts, and they are not genetically modified.
"Treated peanuts can be used as whole peanuts, in pieces or as flour to make foods containing peanuts safer for many people who are allergic," said lead researcher Jianmei Yu in a statement.
The treated peanuts could even be used in immunotherapy, under a doctor's supervision, she added.
The process reduces two key peanut allergy triggers called Ara h 1 and Ara h 2. It reduces Ara h 1 to undetectable levels, and Ara h 2 by up to 98 percent. Human skin-prick trials were conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to measure the effectiveness of the process.
Image: Peanuts, via Shutterstock