BACKGROUND The 16-kDa protein of buckwheat (BW) has been implicated as a major allergen in BW allergy. OBJECTIVE To characterize the 16-kDa allergen and evaluate its clinical significance as an indicator of BW allergy. METHODS Complementary DNA from the 16-kDa allergen was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. Allergenicity was confirmed with IgE immunoblotting or with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The clinical utility of the recombinant protein (r16 kDa) for diagnosis of BW reactivity was evaluated in 18 BW-allergic and in 20 asymptomatic BW-sensitized subjects. RESULTS The 16-kDa allergen, composed of 127 amino acids, has 50% homology to the reported 8-kDa BW allergen, which belongs to the 2 S storage albumin. The r16-kDa protein can inhibit specific IgE (sIgE) antibody binding to the native BW 16-kDa allergen but minimally inhibited sIgE binding to crude BW extract. Approximately 77.8% of patients with the BW allergy produced sIgE antibodies to the r16-kDa protein, compared with a complete lack of reactivity in the 20 asymptomatic BW-sensitized subjects. The areas of the receiver operating characteristic curves for the skin prick test (mean, 0.93; 95% confidence interval, 0.85 to approximately 1.01; P < .001) and the rl6-kDa enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (mean, 0.93; 95% confidence interval, 0.84 to approximately 1.01; P < .001) were higher than the area of the BW IgE measurement curve determined by ImmunoCAP (a system for assaying serum IgE) (mean, 0.80; 95% confidence interval, 0.66 to approximately 0.94; P = .002). CONCLUSIONS The 16-kDa allergen belongs to the 2 S storage albumin. Measurement of rl6-kDa sIgE was more discriminating than measurement of ImmunoCAP sIgE in whole BW extracts for the diagnosis of clinical reactivity to BW.