Identification of Major Cashew and Walnut Allergens

Tech ID: 23432 / UC Case 2002-127-0


Cashews and walnuts are commonly used in snack foods and as an ingredient in a veriety of processed foods, such as bakery and confectionary products. For those who are allergic to those nuts, consuming them can lead to reactions ranging from dermatitis to deadly anaphylactic shock. Researchers at the University of California, Davis in conjunction with Florida State University have identified specific amino acid sequences in walnut and cashew proteins that produce allergic reactions in humans.

Full Description

Researchers have identified allergens in cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds, chestnuts, and pistachios using serum from allergic patients to screen cDNA expression libraries. Once cloned and expressed, the offending proteins are subjected to epitope mapping techniques and mutagenesis to generate a hypoallergenic version. At the same time, researchers are developing polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies to tree nut allergens to be used by the food industry in testing suspected foods for contamination with allergens.


  • Test for cashew and walnut allergies
  • Generate vaccines for patients with nut allergies
  • Development of genetic modifications of the proteins in cashew and walnut plants to generate hypoallergenic plants.

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 8,114,605 02/14/2012 2002-155
United States Of America Issued Patent 8,007,770 08/30/2011 2002-127
United States Of America Issued Patent 7,763,721 07/27/2010 2002-127
United States Of America Issued Patent 7,763,709 07/27/2010 2003-142
United States Of America Issued Patent 7,537,914 05/26/2009 2003-142


  • Greater sensitivity than previous methods
  • Provides well defined reagents for testing and vaccinations would reduce the reisk of side effects.
  • Increase the reliability of allergy tests
  • Hypoallergenic nuts would lessen health risk to allergy sufferers and reduce potential liability of food processors.


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  • Teuber, Suzanne S.

Other Information


Walnut, allergy, allergen, cashew, diagnostic, vaccine

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