UF/IFAS Researcher Continues Quest for Peanut that Won’t Cause Allergic Reaction
About 1.9 million people (0.06 percent of U.S. residents) are allergic to peanuts according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Eliminating 99.9 percent of peanut allergens seems pretty difficult. However, a University of Florida scientist, Wade Yang, has successfully removed 80 percent of allergens in whole peanuts. Yang is attempting to remove allergens from 150 milligrams of protein per peanut to below 1.5 milligrams. If he does this, 95 percent of people with peanut allergies would be safe. Removing allergens comes with risks, according to Yang. Texture, color, flavor and nutrition are all risks Yang takes into consideration. Yang and his colleagues applied pulsed ultraviolet light technology to whole peanuts. This made the findings more useful because peanut processing usually starts from whole-peanut roasting, and roasted peanuts are then packaged to sell as whole peanuts or made into peanut butter.