Rapid test for histamine intolerance

Innovationsakademie Biotechnologie – Thomas Knorpp – Natural and Medical Sciences Institute (NMI) at the University of Tübingen

Erdbeeren und Pralinen


Beneficiary: Natural and Medical Sciences Institute (NMI) at the University of Tübingen
Funding exploratory phase: 01.04.2011 to 31.03.2012; 40.555,00 Euro
Funding feasibility phase: 01.04.12 to 31.12.2015; 590.550 Euro

Project description

Histamine is a natural substance found in many foods such as chocolate, strawberries, smoked meat, fish, matured cheese, beer and wine. However, many people are allergic to histamine. Those affected suffer from cardiovascular complaints, edema, migraine, gastrointestinal complaints or asthma and must therefore abstain from such kinds of food. A simple test strip that checks the histamine content directly before consumption could help these people.

The level of histamine in food depends on many factors such as freshness, processing and treatment. Therefore, the same food is sometimes well tolerated and sometimes not. In the exploratory phase, the market situation for the development of such a rapid test was first analyzed. A survey underlined the benefits of such a product. 80% of the people interviewed showed a strong interest in this test development.

In the feasibility phase, the "Hista-Protect" project tackled this issue and developed a workable solution for a rapid test for the detection of histamine in food for on-site use. The test generally works in a similar way to a pregnancy test. As part of the development, the researchers produced the histamine-specific antibodies, established the extraction method and developedan extraction device for the release of histamine from food. Antibodies generated in this project demonstrated suitable sensitivity and specificity for the development of a strip test. Thus, at the end of the project, a test system for the on-site testing of food for the histamine content for personal use was available for the first time. In an alpha test with persons suffering from histamine intolerance, it was demonstrated that both the digestion device and the detection method can be used by untrained users. Now the task is to convert the laboratory model of the sample digestion device into a production-ready and cost-effective format.