Code: k74
Latin name: Bombyx mori
Source material: Protein allergens
Certain protein allergens and chemicals capable of acting as haptens occur at high concentrations in workplace environments. They represent a significant sensitization risk also for less atopic individuals due to their often high concentration in the air.

Allergen Exposure

Cultured silk from Bombyx mori, is used for exclusive textiles. Workers in the silk industry are heavily exposed. In addition to pure silk they are exposed to silk waste containing potent contaminating allergens such as insect material (1).
Silk and textile industry. 

Clinical Experience

IgE-mediated reactions
Allergic respiratory symptoms are well known among silk industry workers and have been attributed to proteins from the silk worm (2). The substance glueing together the thread filaments, sericin, was previously suspected but this hypothesis has not been confirmed (1). Dust containing pure silk is not a potent allergen.


  1. Johansson SGO, Wüthrich B, Zortea-Caflisch C: Nightly asthma caused by allergens in silkfilled bed quilts: Clinical and immunological studies. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1985, 75, 452-459.
  2. Kobayashi S: Occupational asthma due to inhalation of pharmacological dusts and other chemical agents with some reference to other occupational asthmas in Japan. In Allergology Proceedings VIII Int Congr Allergol eds. Y Yamamura et al., Exerpta Medica, Amsterdam 1973, 127-132.


As in all diagnostic testing, the diagnosis is made by the physican based on both test results and the patient history.