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Über dieses Buch

This is the first book to summarize all aspects of allergenic pollen: production, atmospheric distribution, and health impacts, as well as the means of monitoring and forecasting these phenomena. Based on a four-year effort by a large group of leading European scientists, this book highlights the new developments in research on allergenic pollen, including the modelling prospects and effects of climate change. The multidisciplinary team of authors offers insights into the latest technology of detection of pollen and its allergenic properties, forecasting methods, and the influence of allergenic pollen on the population. The comprehensive coverage in this book makes it an indispensible volume for anyone dealing with allergenic pollen worldwide. Readers involved in environmental health, aerobiology, medicine, and plant science will find this book of interest.



Chapter 1. Introduction

Since the first description of hay fever by John Bostock in 1819, the role of pollen in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases is well established now. Most important allergic diseases are asthma and rhinitis, which affect from 5 to 30% of the population in industrialized countries. The standardization of pollen count protocols and the creation of wide and coordinated networks have provided an invaluable tool for epidemiological and clinical studies and, more recently, for a better understanding of the effects of climate change on plants producing allergenic pollen and on allergic diseases. Significant advances occurred in allergy diagnostic with the use of recombinant molecules. Thanks to new methods for airborne allergen measurement, the same development occurred in aerobiology, thus shedding a new light on the relationship between pollen and allergic diseases.
Lorenzo Cecchi

Chapter 2. Pollen Sources

This chapter reviews what is known about abundance and distribution of the 12 most important aeroallergenic pollens in Europe: Ambrosia, Alnus, Artemisia, Betula, Chenopodiaceae, Corylus, Cupressaceae/Taxaceae, Olea, Platanus, Poaceae, Quercus and Urtica/Parietaria. Abundance is based on 10 years of pollen records from 521 stations of the European Aeroallergen Network that were interpolated into 12 distribution maps covering most of Europe. The chapter compares the distribution maps with other types of distribution maps that are available for selected tree species and discuss two methods for making harmonized pollen source inventories: “bottom-up” and “top-down”. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, and both need to be explored and further developed. Remote sensing has shown to be a valuable method to improve the inventories, especially the use of satellites. The full potential as well as limitations of remote sensing in relation to pollen sources remains to be explored. The review suggests that the most probable way of obtaining inventories of all 12 pollen species is to use top-down methods that use an ecosystem-based approach that for each particular species connects ecological preference, pollen counts and remote sensing.
Carsten Ambelas Skjøth, Branko Šikoparija, Siegfried Jäger, EAN-Network

Chapter 3. The Onset, Course and Intensity of the Pollen Season

The onset, duration and intensity of the period when pollen is present in the air varies from year to year. Amongst other things, there is an effect upon the quality of life of allergy sufferers. The production and emission of pollens are governed by interacting environmental factors. Any change in these factors may affect the phenology and intensity of the season. Readiness to flower in a plant, and the amount of pollen produced, is the result of conditions during an often long period foregoing flowering. When a plant is ready to flower, temporary ambient circumstances e.g., irradiation and humidity, determine the timing of the actual pollen release. In order to understand variation between years and to be able to safely predict future situations, not least due to the ongoing climate change, it is necessary to know the determinants of all related processes and differences between and within species, here reviewed.
Åslög Dahl, Carmen Galán, Lenka Hajkova, Andreas Pauling, Branko Sikoparija, Matt Smith, Despoina Vokou

Chapter 4. Monitoring, Modelling and Forecasting of the Pollen Season

The section about monitoring covers the development of phenological networks, remote sensing of the season cycle of the vegetation, the emergence of the science of aerobiology and, more specifically, aeropalynology, pollen sampling instruments, pollen counting techniques, applications of aeropalynology in agriculture and the European Pollen Information System. Three data sources are directly related with aeropalynology: phenological observations, pollen counts and remote sensing of the vegetation activity. The main future challenge is the assimilation of these data streams into numerical pollen forecast systems. Over the last decades consistent monitoring efforts of various national networks have created a wealth of pollen concentration time series. These constitute a nearly untouched treasure, which is still to be exploited to investigate questions concerning pollen emission, transport and deposition. New monitoring methods allow measuring the allergen content in pollen. Results from research on the allergen content in pollen are expected to increase the quality of the operational pollen forecasts.
In the modelling section the concepts of a variety of process-based phenological models are sketched. Process-based models appear to exhaust the noisy information contained in commonly available observational phenological and pollen data sets. Any additional parameterisations do not to improve model quality substantially. Observation-based models, like regression models, time series models and computational intelligence methods are also briefly described. Numerical pollen forecast systems are especially challenging. The question, which of the models, regression or process-based models is superior, cannot yet be answered.
Helfried Scheifinger, Jordina Belmonte, Jeroen Buters, Sevcan Celenk, Athanasios Damialis, Chantal Dechamp, Herminia García-Mozo, Regula Gehrig, Lukasz Grewling, John M. Halley, Kjell-Arild Hogda, Siegfried Jäger, Kostas Karatzas, Stein-Rune Karlsen, Elisabeth Koch, Andreas Pauling, Roz Peel, Branko Sikoparija, Matt Smith, Carmen Galán-Soldevilla, Michel Thibaudon, Despina Vokou, Letty A. de Weger

Chapter 5. Airborne Pollen Transport

This chapter reviews the present knowledge and previous developments concerning the pollen transport in the atmosphere. Numerous studies are classified according to the spatial scales of the applications, key processes considered, and the methodology involved. Space-wise, local, regional and long-range scales are distinguished. An attempt of systematization is made towards the key processes responsible for the observed patterns: initial dispersion of pollen grains in the nearest vicinity of the sources at micro-scale, transport with the wind, mixing inside the atmospheric boundary layer and dry and wet removal at the regional scale, and the long-range dispersion with synoptic-scale wind, exchange between the boundary layer and free troposphere, roles of dry and wet removal, interactions with chemicals and solar radiation at the large scales.
Atmospheric dispersion modelling can pursue two goals: estimation of concentrations from known source (forward problem), and the source apportionment (inverse problem). Historically, the inverse applications were made first, mainly using the simple trajectory models. The sophisticated integrated systems capable of simulating all main processes of pollen lifecycle have been emerging only during last decade using experience of the atmospheric chemical composition modelling.
Several studies suggest the allergen existence in the atmosphere separately from the pollen grains – as observed in different parts of the world. However, there is no general understanding of the underlying processes, and the phenomenon itself is still debated. Another new area with strongly insufficient knowledge is the interactions of airborne allergens and chemical pollutants.
Mikhail Sofiev, Jordina Belmonte, Regula Gehrig, Rebeca Izquierdo, Matt Smith, Åslög Dahl, Pilvi Siljamo

Chapter 6. Impact of Pollen

The impact of pollen on human health is primarily evident in allergic diseases. Sensitized patients can respond to pollen by symptoms of nose, eyes and bronchi. Pollen threshold levels for sensitization are unknown; instead most studies focus on the prevalence of sensitization for different pollen species. The pollen thresholds for symptom development vary among the different studies. Factors that influence the threshold level of a pollen species for symptom development are discussed. (i) Differences in response are observed among individual patients, but also among (ii) ethnic populations, (iii) changes in response to pollen concentrations during the pollen season occur, (iv) the amount of allergens carried by the pollen grains can differ in per region, from day to day and from year to year, and finally (v) threshold levels are affected by environmental factors, like weather conditions (temperature, pressure and storms), and air pollutants.The diversity of factors that influence the health impact of pollen has hampered the definition of a straight forward relationship between pollen and the severity of symptoms. However, within the public, the policymakers and the pharmaceutical industry there is a need for a definition of threshold pollen levels. A first approach to meet this need could be to define preliminary threshold values for different regions, followed by a validation of these preliminary threshold levels with patient symptom scores that can be collected by using new information and communication technology (ICT).
Finally, the possible role of pollen in non allergic diseases is discussed, especially non-allergic respiratory diseases, cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases, and psychiatric diseases, including suicide and suicide attempt.
Letty A. de Weger, Karl Christian Bergmann, Auli Rantio-Lehtimäki, Åslög Dahl, Jeroen Buters, Chantal Déchamp, Jordina Belmonte, Michel Thibaudon, Lorenzo Cecchi, Jean-Pierre Besancenot, Carmen Galán, Yoav Waisel

Chapter 7. Presentation and Dissemination of Pollen Information

The aim of this chapter is to describe the ways that pollen information is being presented and disseminated to the general public, in various European countries and elsewhere, with the aid of information and communication systems and methods. For this purpose, the chapter firstly addresses the legal framework concerning the dissemination of environmental information and especially information concerning the quality of the atmospheric environment. In the next section, the production of pollen related information via monitoring systems and with the aid of appropriate models is addressed. Then, the chapter presents and analyses pollen information dissemination, including internet technologies as well as participatory sensing. Furthermore, on-line pollen information systems are investigated, and pollen information presentation as well as communication means are analysed. On the basis of the aforementioned investigations, the chapter then addresses the area of electronic information systems and services for quality of life. Such services are suggested as appropriate for disseminating environmental quality information related to pollen levels. Lastly, conclusions are drawn concerning information services that would include pollen related data and knowledge.
Kostas D. Karatzas, Marina Riga, Matt Smith


Without Abstract
Helfried Scheifinger, Jordina Belmonte, Jeroen Buters, Sevcan Celenk, Athanasios Damialis, Chantal Dechamp, Herminia García-Mozo, Regula Gehrig, Lukasz Grewling, John M. Halley, Kjell-Arild Hogda, Siegfried Jäger, Kostas Karatzas, Stein-Rune Karlsen, Elisabeth Koch, Andreas Pauling, Roz Peel, Branko Sikoparija, Matt Smith, Carmen Galán-Soldevilla, Michel Thibaudon, Despina Vokou, Letty A. de Weger
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