Abstract

Epidemiologic studies strongly associate eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) with ingestion of tryptophan containing a contaminant ("peak E"). Prior reports have suggested that peak E is the di-tryptophan N alpha-animal of acetaldehyde. Spectral and chemical studies now demonstrate that peak E is 1,1'-ethylidenebis[tryptophan]. This novel amino acid may be the etiological agent responsible for EMS, or it may be a marker of a still unidentified causal agent.