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Lipid Transfer Proteins

This is a simplified description of Lipid Transfer Proteins – there are more resources available at the bottom of the page for further reading for those who are interested in knowing more.

What are Lipid Transfer Proteins?

Lipid Transfer Proteins, also commonly called "LTPs", are one of the most frequently studied food allergens.

LTP function in plants is to move lipid molecules to develop and maintain the internal and external structures of the plant.

LTPs have been shown to be heat stable, but can sometimes be affected by intense heating. They are most notable for their cross reactivity, they have the potential to cause allergic reactions across large groups of foods. When a person is allergic to many foods containing LTPs they can be said to have LTP Syndrome.

What are Non-Specific LTPs?

When LTPs are referred to as 'non-specific", it means the proteins are not specialised in the lipid type they carry throughout the plant.

Conversely, when LTPs are described as "specific", it means they are specialised proteins which only carry one type of lipid between plant organelles.

Which foods contain lipid transfer proteins?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises 35 foods as containing lipid transfer proteins known to cause allergic reactions after consumption of food.

Kiwi, peanut, strawberry, sunflower seeds, walnut, apple, mulberry, banana, asparagus, pea, apricot, celery, lemon, chestnut, cabbage, cherry, mustard seeds, plum, tangerine, wheat, durum wheat, orange, almond, peach, corn, pear, pomegranate, raspberry, lettuce, green beans, lentils, lupin, hazelnuts, tomato and grape all contain lipid transfer proteins.

Other studies show that lipid transfer proteins have been food in other foods - visit the individual pages to find specific resources. LTPs have also been found in onion, beetroot, broccoli, millet, grapefruit, quinces, figs, fennel, goji berry, parsnip, parsley, runner beans, butter beans, gooseberry, blackcurrant, aubergine and blueberry.

You can download a Lipid Transfer Protein Factsheet from the Allergy Resources Ko-fi Shop for just $0.50 (£0.40 or €0.45). This has up to date information on which foods contain Lipid Transfer Proteins and what to avoid if you think you have LTP Syndrome.

This food list above is not exhaustive, for the most up to date information visit the Cross Reactivity Tool.

Which pollens contain lipid transfer proteins?

Pollen allergens associated with lipid transfer proteins including wormwood, mugwort and plane trees.

What symptoms do they cause?

Allergy to foods containing LTPs have a wide range of symptoms and severity including urticaria (hives or welts), angioedema (swelling under the skin), nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting or breathlessness and anaphylactic shock.

What is the importance of knowing whether a reaction is to lipid transfer proteins or other allergens?

Multiple allergies are becoming more common and this often leads people to impose a strict restrictive diet on themselves. This can lead to a poor diet lacking in essential nutrients and frustration over a lack of eating options. Knowing which foods are the most likely to be causing your reactions can bring more options back into your diet.

This is why food diaries continue to be an important tool in diagnosis of your allergies – noting the times reactions took place and what medications were taken are a necessary starting point for a proper diagnosis.

There is more information on food diaries HERE.


Science Direct - Lipid Transfer Protein

Science Direct - Plant LTPs

Allergy UK - Lipid Transfer Proteins

Anaphylaxis UK - Lipid Transfer Proteins Syndrome

Articles and Journals

Clinical management of plant food allergy in patients sensitized to lipid transfer proteins is heterogeneous: identifying the gaps, 2024

Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) Induced Anaphylaxis in a Chinese Child with Lipid Transfer Protein Sensitization, 2023

Clinical management of plant food allergy in patients sensitized to lipid transfer proteins is heterogeneous: identifying the gaps, 2023

Lipid transfer protein allergy, 2023

Lipid transfer protein syndrome in a Northern European patient: An unusual case report, 2023

Immunotherapy with Pru p 3 for food allergy to peach and non-specific lipid transfer protein: a systematic review, 2023

Sensitization to nsLTP: A Retrospective Study in An Italian Pediatric Population over the Last Decade, 2023

Recent Advances in Electrochemical Sensing Strategies for Food Allergen Detection, 2022

Risk factors for severe reactions in food allergy: Rapid evidence review with meta‐analysis, 2022

Prevalence of sensitization to molecular food allergens in Europe: A systematic review, 2022

Lipid transfer protein allergy: A review of current controversies, 2022

The diagnosis and management of allergic reactions in patients sensitized to non‐specific lipid transfer proteins, 2021

The Role of Lipid Transfer Proteins as Food and Pollen Allergens Outside the Mediterranean Area, 2021

Non-specific lipid-transfer proteins: Allergen structure and function, cross-reactivity, sensitization, and epidemiology, 2021

Lipid Transfer Protein Syndrome-an emerging allergy in non-mediterranean countries?, 2021

Nickel allergy in lipid transfer protein sensitized patients: Prevalence and clinical features, 2020

Lipid Transfer Protein allergy in the United Kingdom: Characterization and comparison with a matched Italian cohort, 2019

Stability of allergens, 2018

How relevant is panallergen sensitization in the development of allergies? 2016

Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful. If you spot an article or research that you think is interesting you can message me or tag me on Facebook or Twitter - links at the bottom of the page.

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