Substance Info: (and synonyms)
String Bean / Green Bean / French Bean

Background Info:

Common Names: Green bean, Common bean, French bean, String bean, Snap bean, Wax bean, Haricot bean

The genus Phaseolus includes many varieties of edible beans. The Green bean, also known as the French bean or Common bean, has a long, slender green pod with small seeds inside. The entire pod is edible. The Wax bean is a pale yellow variety of Green bean.

The pods are usually harvested when immature, before the seeds inside have grown too large. When the pods are left on the plant to mature fully, the ripe seeds can then be dried and used as Haricot beans.

The green pods are commonly used as a vegetable. The young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked as a potherb.

The green or dried mature pods, or the seeds alone, are diuretic, hypoglycaemic and hypotensive. Ground into flour, the seeds are used as a homeopathic remedy.


Adverse Reactions:


[ 1 / 14 ]

This study describes five patients with documented adverse reactions upon the ingestion of cooked green beans. A green bean protein was purified, tested with a pool serum, and inhibited with Pru p 3. Prick + prick tests with raw and cooked green beans were positive for all of the patients. IgE immunoblotting showed that all of the patients reacted toward a unique IgE-binding protein at about 9 kDa, corresponding to an Lipid Transfer Protein. (Pastorello 2010 ref.25798 5)

Pastorello EA, Pravettoni V, Farioli L, Primavesi L, Scibilia J, Piantanida M, Mascheri A, Conti A. Green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): a new source of IgE-binding lipid transfer protein. J Agric Food Chem 2010 Apr 14;58(7):4513-6.

[ 2 / 14 ]

Ten Spanish patients reporting adverse reactions to green bean (GB) were recruited. Oral provocation test confirmed GB allergy. A 10kDa protein in GB extract was recognized by 80% of the sera and identified as nsLTP. The two rLTPs (named LTP1a and LTP1b), share 61.3% aa identity and present the typical nsLTP-like secondary structure. The IgE-binding and histamine release assays provided evidence that rLTPs and nLTPs possess different allergenic potency. (Zoccatelli 2010 ref.24866 7)

Zoccatelli G, Pokoj S, Foetisch K, Bartra J, Valero A, Del Mar San Miguel-Moncin, Vieths S, Scheurer S. Identification and characterization of the major allergen of green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) as a non-specific lipid transfer protein (Pha v 3). Mol Immunol 2010 Apr;47(7-8):1561-1568

[ 3 / 14 ]

A case of peanut hypersensitivity that developed during early adolescence. A 13 year old girl who had eaten an unrestricted diet, including peanut, until 2 years prior to the consultation. At eleven years of age, she developed throat pruritus with peanut ingestion. When the symptom initially presented, it resolved after drinking water. Subsequent ingestions of peanut resulted in worsening of symptoms. Peanut was removed from her diet following an episode of throat pruritus which persisted for five minutes. Evaluation by a community allergist revealed a positive skin test to peanut.
Oral pruritus was noted with the ingestion of multiple fruits and vegetables. When the majority of foods are cooked, the oral pruritus does not occur. One notable exception is green bean, which results in mouth pruritus despite cooking. Serum specific IgE testing (kIU/L): peanut 26.2, green bean 37.3, and birch is >100. Recommendations included strict peanut, tree nut, and green bean avoidance, avoidance of raw fruits and vegetables that provoke oral symptoms, and medical management for her allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis. Sensitization to birch may be involved in some cases of late onset peanut hypersensitivity due to cross-reactivity of the major allergen of birch pollen (Bet v 1) and homologous peanut allergens. (Maloney 2007 ref.22982 0)

Maloney JM, Sampson HA. A Case of Late Onset Peanut Allergy. ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting. 2007: Nov, Dallas. Poster 59.

[ 4 / 14 ]

This report reviews the current literature focusing on allergic reactions to foods by inhalation, where these allergens may become aerosolized during food preparation. (James 2007 ref.20050 0)

James JM, Crespo JF. Allergic reactions to foods by inhalation. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 2007 Jun;7(3):167-174

[ 5 / 14 ]

An 8-year-old asthmatic child, who was allergic to peanut, suffered an asthma attack while playing with his brother, who had been eating lupine seed as snack. The skin tests were positive to Lupinus albus extract, peanut, garbanzo bean, navy bean, pea, green bean, lentil, soy, Olea europea pollen, grass pollen and Plantago lanceolata pollen. The prick-by-prick tests both from dried seeds and those preserved in salt and water were strongly positive. Serum specific IgE antibodies were positive to Lupine albus (1.43 kU/l), peanut (4.32 kU/l), soy (2.15 kU/l), lentil (3.12 kU/l) and garbanzo (0.7 kU/l). The patient had asthma in 5 min of manipulation of the lupine seeds. Reactivity with other legumes was also demonstrated, but only peanut allergy was relevant because boiled legumes were tolerated. (Moreno-Ancillo 2005 ref.12564 7)

Moreno-Ancillo A, Gil-Adrados AC, Dominguez-Noche C, Cosmes PM. Lupine inhalation induced asthma in a child. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2005 Sep;16(6):6-544

[ 6 / 14 ]

A 7-year-old child who suffered two episodes of angioedema related to white bean: the first episode occurred after ingestion, and subsequently developed angioedema following inhalation of vapours from cooked white bean. Skin prick test with white bean and green bean were positive (8x8 mm). The prick-by-prick with cooked white bean was positive. Serum specific IgE assayed by CAP was positive for white bean (24.30 KU/I) and green bean (7.2 KU/I) and <0.35 KU/I to peanut, pea and soybean. An oral challenge test with several legumes were performed showing an immediate response alter ingestion of white bean, with symptoms of angioedema involving lips and tongue. The results indicate that he has type I hypersensitivity to white bean and green bean. The patient tolerated chickpeas, lentils, and soybean. (Martinez 2005 ref.12049 7)

Martinez AJ, Callejo MA, Fuentes Gonzalo MJ, Martin GC. Angioedema induced by inhalation of vapours from cooked white bean in a child. Allergol Immunopathol (Madr ) 2005 Jul;33(4):4-230

[ 7 / 14 ]

Infantile food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is a severe, cell-mediated gastrointestinal food hypersensitivity typically provoked by cow's milk or soy. This study reports on other foods causing this syndrome: 14 infants with FPIES caused by grains (rice, oat, and barley), vegetables (sweet potato, squash, string beans, peas), or poultry (chicken and turkey) were identified. Symptoms of typical FPIES are delayed (median: 2 hours) and include the onset of vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy/dehydration. Eleven infants (78%) reacted to >1 food protein, including 7 (50%) that reacted to >1 grain. Nine (64%) of all patients with solid food-FPIES also had cow's milk and/or soy-FPIES. Initial presentation was severe in 79% of the patients, prompting sepsis evaluations (57%) and hospitalization (64%) for dehydration or shock. None of the patients developed FPIES to maternally ingested foods while breastfeeding unless the causal food was fed directly to the infant. (Nowak-Wegrzyn 2003 ref.7791 5)

Nowak-Wegrzyn A, Sampson HA, Wood RA, Sicherer SH. Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome caused by solid food proteins. Pediatrics 2003;111(4 Pt 1):829-35

[ 8 / 14 ]

Anaphylaxis in a 20-year-old girl occuring 1 hour after ingestion of string bean. Symptoms were gastroenteritis, generalised urticaria and collapse. She reacted to boiled string bean, inducing a stronger reaction than raw string bean. She also developed urticaria from fresh fennel, boiled cabbage, mustard, commercial hazelnut cream and commercial pear juice. (Asero 2001 ref.4132 9)

Asero R, Mistrello G, Roncarolo D, Amato S, van Ree R. String bean-induced anaphylaxis. Allergy 2001;56(3):259-60

[ 9 / 14 ]

A 35 kDa protein, probably a novel allergen and not a chitinase, was detected in a 20-year-old girl who experienced anaphylaxis to string bean. She reacted to boiled string bean, inducing a stronger reaction than raw string bean. (Asero 2001 ref.4132 9)

Asero R, Mistrello G, Roncarolo D, Amato S, van Ree R. String bean-induced anaphylaxis. Allergy 2001;56(3):259-60

[ 10 / 14 ]

This study describes the development of asthma and rhinitis in 3 women after exposure to raw green beans, and one of them also when exposed to raw chards. All women tolerated ingestion of green beans. Multiple episodes while handling these vegetables for cooking was reported.
A 31-year-old woman, who tolerated ingestion of cooked green beans without any symptoms, developed rhinoconjunctivitis, dyspnea, and wheezing each time she handled (cutting and processing) raw green beans in preparation for cooking over the two previous years. She required emergency treatment several times for acute asthma after handling green beans.
A 37-year-old woman developed rhinoconjunctivitis, dry cough, dyspnea, and wheezing 5 to 10 minutes after handling (culling and cleaning) either raw green beans or chards. These symptoms developed over the previous 2 years and the patient reported eating cooked legumes and other vegetables without any symptoms.
A 47-year-old woman, over the past 2 to 3 years, developed rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma attacks, including wheezing, and chest tightness, immediately after she started to clean and handle raw green beans. The symptoms lasted approximately three to four hours. She tolerated the ingestion of cooked green beans.
Skin- and serum-specific IgE were positive (5.6 kU/L, 6.3 kU/L, and 1.33 kU/L). Bronchial challenge test with these allergens showed positive responses to raw, but not cooked, green beans and chards. Oral food challenges with green beans (raw and cooked) and chards were negative in all patients.
(Daroca 2000 ref.3853 1)

Daroca P, Crespo JF, Reano M, James JM, Lopez-Rubio A, Rodriguez J Asthma and rhinitis induced by exposure to raw green beans and chards. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2000;85(3):215-8

[ 11 / 14 ]

This study investigated the cross-reactivity to non-Rosaceae LTPs. IgE antibodies to Rosaceae LTPs reacted to a broad range of vegetable foods were evaluated in 498 subjects (age > 12 years) with Rosaccae allergy as judged by skin prick test with fresh fruits and (in most cases) clinical history. The majority had OAS (>97%), and only a minority (approximately 10%) showed urticaria/angioedema, gastrointestinal symptoms, food-induced rhinitis, asthma, or anaphylaxis. Sera from 37 patients were available for follow-up studies. Peach was identified most frequently as an offending Rosaceae food (in 30/37 patients), followed by apple (16/37), apricot (11/37), cherry (9/37), plum (8/37), almond (7/37) and pear (6/37). Four patients did not have any clinical symptoms related to Rosaccae fruits, despite a positive SPT with commercial plum extract and peach peel extract. All 37 patients were interviewed for allergies to other foods. Walnut and hazelnut were most frequently reported as offending foods (19/37 and 15/37, respectively), closely followed by peanut (9/37). For the other 33 different foods, the number of patients reporting symptoms ranged from 1 to 5. These foods were found among all major groups of vegetable foods, including cereals (corn, wheat), legumes (soybean, string bean, white bean, chick pea, lentils, lupine), Solanaceae (potato, tomato, eggplant) Brassicaceae (cabbage, mustard), Umbelliferae (celery, fennel), Rutaceae (lemon, orange), and several other plant families. This article contains a table of the 37 patients and the effecting foods and symptoms of each patient.
(Asero 2000 ref.3711 7)

Asero R, Mistrello G, Roncarolo D, de Vries SC, Gautier MF, Ciurana CL, Verbeek E, Mohammadi T, Knul-Brettlova V, Akkerdaas JH, Bulder I, Aalberse RC, van Ree R. Lipid transfer protein: a pan-allergen in plant-derived foods that is highly resistant to pepsin digestion. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2000;122(1):20-32

[ 12 / 14 ]

In a Spanish study, in 20 of 22 subjects who experienced allergy symptoms following exposure to lentils, the most frequent symptoms were oropharyngeal symptoms (40%) and acute urticaria (30%); 3 patients also reported symptoms when they were exposed to steam from cooked lentils. Onset of sensitisation occurred less than 4 years of age and 9 patients had allergic reactions to other legumes: chick peas (6 patients), peas (2 patients), and green beans (1 patient). The heating process caused a significant decrease in specific-IgE-binding.
Age-onset Symptoms Lentil-slgE Other food allergies
2.5* U 6.64 Chick peas
3 U 4.75 Chick peas
4 OAS 18.2
5 NS 44.9 Fish
12 U,C,W 13.1
3* OAS/R 17.5 Green beans
3 U,V,LE 5.61 Chick peas, peaches, fish
3 V,AP,D 8.7 Fish, milk
2 AD 54.6
2 U/A 7.16 Peas
3 U/A 16.7 Peas, fish
3* OAS/R 4.72 Chick peas
3 OAS 4.86
12 U/A,C,W 20.3 Peaches
6 NS 8.9 Chestnut
1.5 U,C,W >100
1.5 OAS 25.9 Fish
1.5 OAS 13.4 Chick peas
1.7 U/A 5.43
2.1 OAS 43.6
1.8 OAS 5.87 Chick peas
1.2 U/A 44.4
U, generalized urticaria; OAS, oral allergy syndrome; NS, no symptoms; C. cough; W, wheezing; R, rhinitis; V, vomiting; LE, laryngeal edema; AP, abdominal pain; D, diarrhea; AD, atopic dermatitis; A, facial angioedema.
*Also, symptoms after exposure to steam from cooked lentils.
(Pascual 1999 ref.7341 3)

Pascual CY, Fernandez-Crespo J, Sanchez-Pastor S, Padial MA, Diaz-Pena JM, Martin-Munoz F, Martin-Esteban M. Allergy to lentils in Mediterranean pediatric patients. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1999;103(1 Pt 1):154-8

[ 13 / 14 ]

Green bean is frequently associated with food allergy, but allergic reactions caused by skin contact or by inhalation of vapors from boiling legumes are rare. (Igea 1994 ref.1188 2)

Igea Jm, Fernandez M, et al. Green bean hypersensitivity: an occupational allergy in a homemaker. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1994;94:33-35

[ 14 / 14 ]

A study reports on a 46-year-old atopic housewife, in whom rhinoconjunctivitis and acute asthma were associated with two vegetables of taxonomically unrelated botanical families (Swiss chard / Chenopodiaceae family and green beans / legume family). For the last 8 years she had presented with nasal and ocular itching, sneezing, and rhinorrhea within a few minutes of handling or inhaling the vapor of Swiss chard or green beans cooked at home. These symptoms were followed in 30 minutes by cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath which persisted for a few hours after exposure. The same symptoms developed when she visited a grocery. She was able to eat and to handle cooked Swiss chard and green beans without any reaction and had no reactions to any other foods. Skin tests, histamine release test, and specific IgE determination by RAST (Swiss chard (0.78 PRU/mL), green bean (0.68 PRU/ mL), lentil (0.42 K.U/L), and Chenopodium a pollen (0.48 KU/L)), bronchial responses after specific bronchial challenges were positive for both. (Parra 1993 ref.480 41)

Parra FM, Lazaro M, Cuevas M, Ferrando M, et al. Bronchial asthma caused by two unrelated vegetables. Ann Allergy 1993;70:324-327

Non-Immune reactions

[ 1 ]

Anti-hyperglycemic effect (Roman-Ramos 1995 ref.6804 2)

Roman-Ramos R, Flores-Saenz JL, Alarcon-Aguilar FJ. Anti-hyperglycemic effect of some edible plants. J Ethnopharmacol 1995;48(1):25-32

Occupational reactions

[ 1 ]

This article desribes occupational asthma from string bean in a homemaker; She experienced rhinoconjunctivitis, asthma attacks, and contact urticaria while trimming raw green beans or inhaling vapor from boiling green beans. She was able to eat and touch cooked green beans without any ill effect and showed no reactivity to any other foods. The result of the skin prick test with raw green beans was positive, but negative with boiled green beans. Rub test with the green beans on the patient's forearm elicited wheals and pruritus within 10 minutes. Bronchial provocation test, with both green bean extracts was positive and immediate. Basophil histamine release test was positive. (Igea 1994 ref.1188 2)

Igea Jm, Fernandez M, et al. Green bean hypersensitivity: an occupational allergy in a homemaker. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1994;94:33-35

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Allergy Advisor  - Food Additive and Preservative Allergy and Intolerance Database