Volume 59 (2013) Issue 5 Pages 462-469
Miso paste (miso), a fermented soybean food, is popular in Japan and other Asian countries. However, the soybean is known to induce an allergenic response in some individuals. In the present study, we evaluated the allergenicity of various kinds of miso available in Japan. Total proteins were extracted from Amakuti-kome miso, Karakuti-kome miso, Mugi-miso and Mame-miso, and the protein profiles were analyzed. The major protein bands detected in the intact soybean extract were not present in any of the miso samples, which instead showed various low molecular weight protein bands of approximately 10-25 kDa. The existence levels of six major soybean allergens were determined by Western blotting using specific antibodies. We found that the allergen levels varied among miso and allergen types; however, allergen levels were consistently lower in miso than in the soybean extract. We obtained similar results for IgE-ELISA experiments using serum IgE from soybean allergy patients. Taken together, these results indicate that compared to soybean extract, various types of miso contain small quantities of intact soybean allergens. Additionally, several lines of evidence indicated that the allergen levels were exceptionally low in the dark-colored Karakuti-kome miso and Mame-miso, which are produced with relatively long fermentation periods, suggesting that the duration of fermentation might be a key factor in the hypoallergenicity of miso.