23. October 2019
Sometimes, sesame allergy only occurs when hummus is consumed

Children who are not allergic to sesame seeds can still develop an allergic reaction to the sesame in hummus. Kirsten Beyer, director of Kinderallergologisches Studienzentrum (the juvenile allergy research centre) at Charité Berlin, explains why.

“Sesame allergies are sometimes overlooked because children don’t react to the sesame seeds on bread”, explained Kirsten Beyer at the 2019 German Allergy Congress. If an allergy to hummus suddenly occurs, sesame is not considered the culprit at first.

This is because the allergy is caused by storage proteins in the sesame seed. If the sesame seeds remain intact, the gut cannot break down these proteins. The seeds can pass right through the intestines without causing an allergic reaction.

Hummus is another story: It contains tahini, a paste made of finely ground sesame seeds. The hulls of the sesame seeds no longer encase the storage proteins, which can therefore trigger a sesame allergy.



New research group Food@

Beyer is also the spokesperson for the clinical research group ‘Food Allergy and Tolerance (Food@)’ at Charité, which was recently established in 2019. The group is taking a closer look at how and why food allergies occur. The team also wants to develop new strategies for treatment. The programme has been granted around three million euros in funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) for a period of three years.




Meet the Professor. Mittagsgespräch mit Prof. Dr. Kirsten Beyer, Klinik für Pädiatrie mit Schwerpunkt Pneumologie, Immunologie und Intensivmedizin, Charité Berlin, auf dem 14. Deutschen Allergiekongress in Hannover, Freitag, 27.09.2019.


Text: kf/ktg