What’s New: Boiling Off Shrimp’s Potency

in Fish & Shellfish
Published: September 2, 2010

Researchers in China and Louisiana have tested and compared raw and boiled proteins of a common type of shrimp. They were excited to find that boiling shrimp for 10 minutes reduces the allergenicity of the protein called tropomyosin, the main allergen in shellfish.

There would still be protein traces and no one is suggesting that the one in 50 Americans who are allergic to shellfish (the family that includes shrimp, lobster, clams and crab) begins tucking into a well-boiled chowder.

But the study, published in the Journal of Food Science in January, shows promising results on the possibility of lowering the allergenic properties of shrimp. Tropomyosin (TM) is the main allergen in seafood, including shrimp.

Food scientists have found that boiling shrimp for 10 minutes seems to reduce the allergenic potency. Researchers compared raw and boiled shrimp that had been ground and freeze-dried and found that the boiled shrimp had fewer allergenic properties than its raw counterpart.

While a far cry from a cure, lead researcher Guang Ming Liu believes the findings are a step in the right direction: “Understanding the allergenic properties of shrimp as affected by the cooking process is critical for shrimp allergic individuals.”