Kiwifruit

Author: Hon A/Prof Marius Rademaker, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2002.

Common name: Kiwi, kiwifruit, zespri, Chinese Gooseberry, Kiwi Berry, Yang-Tao
Botanical name: Actinidia chinensis
Family: Actinidiaceae
Origin: South east China
Description: Actinidia chinensis is one of 30 species of hardy and tender, deciduous, climbing plants that are natives of eastern Asia. A. chinensis (also known as A. deliciosa) is a tender, large vine that can reach a height of 8 meters. Its shoots are thickly covered with reddish hairs and its large, heart-shaped leaves grow from 15-25 cm long and up to 20 cm wide. In late summer, clusters of fragrant, 2-3cm flowers are produced. They are cream turning buff-yellow. Its edible, fuzzy-skinned fruits are green, eventually turning brown.
Uses: Used as a food. The vines are great for growing on trellises, along fences, covering walls, or tall stumps.
Allergens: The main allergen present in the fruit is the proteinase actinidin. It is one of a group of plant thiol proteinases to which papain, ficin, and stem bromelain also belong. Actinidin is composed of at least two proteolytic enzymes. Of increasing concern is the cross-reaction between these proteolytic enzymes and natural rubber latex. Individuals who have developed contact urticaria from exposure to natural latex (usually from wearing rubber gloves), need to avoid eating and handling Kiwi fruit.
Allergy: Urticaria (type I hypersensitivity), immediate contact urticaria, allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, oral allergy syndrome as well as asthma
Cross reactions: Natural rubber latex protein.
Other information: It was originally grown in the Anbgtze Valley of southern China. The first commercial planting in New Zealand was in 1934 at Te Puke.
Patch test: Prick test through fruit. Leaf as is, outer components of vine and fruit.

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