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HIALINE
The Project - WP 5 – Allergen in ambient air (birch, grasses, olive)

WP 5 - Allergen in ambient air (birch, grasses, olive)

Objectives

The objective is to deliver the core data needed for all work packages: for 9 locations within Europe the daily pollen count and simultaneously the daily allergen concentration in ambient air for 3 major European aeroallergens will be determined. The allergen release capacity from pollen will be incorporated into an allergen forecast. This will result into a novel allergen exposure forecast, taking into consideration pollen counts and differences in allergen release from pollen from different locations. Thus geographical differences in exposure over Europe can be forecasted. This will help patients, medical doctors, and health authorities to better protect allergic individuals.

Workpackage description

This work-package is responsible for the measurements of the major allergen from birch, grasses and olive i.e. Bet v 1, Phleum p 5 and Ole e 1, simultaneous with birch, grasses and olive pollen counts in ambient air. Allergens in ambient air will be sampled during the pollen season with a Chemvol high-volume cascade impactor*, the pollen sampled on filters in the Chemvol will be extracted and the amount of released allergen will be determined by an allergen specific ELISA. The methods were validated during a 5-year experiment at one location.

Simultaneously the number of pollen in ambient air will be measured with a Burkard pollen trap. This instrument is applied European wide and is the standard method for pollen counting**. Allergen release and pollen count will be compared. This will exemplify the added value of measuring the culprit allergen instead of the allergen carrier, the pollen. On top of that differences between the locations will be analyzed in relation to climate and weather data, which are widely available from local authorities. Factors can be identified that govern the release from allergens from pollen i.e. the warmer the climate, the higher the amount of allergen released from pollen (our previous observation). The large differences in climates in Europe facilitate the identification of factors that influence allergen release from pollen. Once the climatic factors are known, the effect of climate change on allergen exposure of the European population can be forecasted.

The obtained allergen measurements will be incorporated into an allergen forecast, supplementing the commonly accessed pollen forecasts in the available public databases. The European citizen is thus accurately informed about his allergen exposure, not only his allergen carrier (the pollen) exposure.

* Demokritou P, Kavouras IG, Ferguson ST, Koutrakis P. Development of a high volume cascade impactor for toxicological and chemical characterization studies. Aerosol Science and Technology 2002; 36:925-33.
** Mullins J, Emberlin J. Sampling pollens. J Aerosol Sci 1997; 28:365-70.


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