Latin name: Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera
Source material: Frozen sprouts
Brussels sprouts, a cultivar of wild cabbage, belong to the Cabbage family, Brassicaceae (formerly Cruciferae). Brussels sprouts originated in the Mediterranean region from a loose-leafed wild plant, from a leafy wild cabbage/wild mustard plant. This was domesticated and eventually bred into widely varying forms, including Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, kale, and kohlrabi, all of which remain the same species (1).
Said to have been cultivated in 16th-century Belgium, Brussels sprouts, indeed, resemble tiny Cabbage heads. Important growing areas are Western and Central Europe, Japan, and North America.
The Brussels sprouts plant is a cool-season biennial, ranging in colour from light green to deep grayish-green, and with round to heart-shaped leaves. The sprouts are modified leaves forming “heads.” Many rows of sprouts grow on a single long stalk. They range from 1 to 4 cm in diameter.
Brussels sprouts are restricted to cultivated beds. They are available canned, frozen or fresh, and are most often boiled or steamed and served as a side dish. They are high in vitamins A and C, and are a fairly good source of iron.
Brussels sprouts are useful in providing suitable replacement foods for many patients with multiple food allergy.
No allergens from this plant have yet been characterised.
A lipid transfer protein (LTP) has been isolated from a close family member, Broccoli, suggesting that Brussels sprouts may contain a LTP. This has not been demonstrated to date (1-3).
An extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus could be expected, as well as to a certain degree among members of the family Brassicaceae, including Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and Cabbage (4). This has been supported by a study that reported cross-reactivity among Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Mustard, Rape and Turnip (5). Some authors disagree and state that cross-reactivity among the Brassicaceae species is rare (6).
Cross-reactivity between Brussel sprouts and other plants containing LTP is possible.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that Brussels sprouts can occasionally induce symptoms of food allergy in sensitised individuals; however, no studies have been reported to date.
Compiled by Dr Harris Steinman, developer of Allergy Advisor, http://allergyadvisor.com.
Wikipedia contributors, ”Broccoli,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Broccoli&oldid=236472388 (accessed September 8, 2008)
Asero R, Mistrello G, Roncarolo D, Amato S, van Ree R. A case of allergy to beer showing cross-reactivity between lipid transfer proteins. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2001;87(1):65-7
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et al. Lipid transfer protein: a pan-allergen in plant-derived foods that is highly resistant to pepsin digestion.
Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2000;122(1):20-32
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Blaiss MS, McCants M, Lehrer S. Anaphylaxis to cabbage: detection of allergens.
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