The new study, which will be published Monday in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, determined that dry-roasted peanuts were more likely to cause an allergic reaction in mice than their raw counterparts.
Researchers found that dry-roasting the peanuts caused chemical changes, because of the high temperatures that the roasting process requires. Their research suggested that a person’s immune system could pick up on those changes, “priming” them for an allergic response, according to a news release.
That might help explain why more people suffer from peanut allergies in Western countries, where dry roasting is more common, than in East Asia, where, the news release noted, “peanuts are more often eaten raw, boiled or fried.”
“People with higher allergic background often have genetic dispositions to various types of allergies including to peanuts,” Oxford researcher Amin Moghaddam said in an e-mail. “But as [we] and others have argued, dramatic recent rises in peanut allergy and the geographical discrepancies cannot simply be attributed to a genetic background.”