Biomonitoring of pollen grains of a river bank suburban city, Konnagar, Calcutta, India, and its link and impact on local people
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Division of Plant Biology, Bose Institute, Kolkata, India
Allergy and Asthma Department, M.P. Birla Research Center, Kolkata, India
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2015;22(2):236–242
Introduction and objectives:
Pollen grains released by plants are dispersed into the air and can become trapped in human nasal mucosa, causing immediate release of allergens triggering severe Type 1 hypersensitivity reactions in susceptible allergic patients. Recent epidemiologic data show that 11–12% of people suffer from this type of disorders in India. Hence, it is important to examine whether pollen grains have a role in dissipating respiratory problems, including allergy and astma, in a subtropical suburban city.

Material and Methods:
Meteorological data were collected for a period of two years, together with aerobiological sampling with a Burkard sampler. A pollen calendar was prepared for the city. A health survey and the hospitalization rate of local people for the above problems were documented following statistical analysis between pollen counts and the data from the two above-mentioned sources. Skin Prick Test and Indirect ELISA were performer for the identification of allergenic pollen grains.

Bio-monitoring results showed that a total of 36 species of pollen grains were located in the air of the study area, where their presence is controlled by many important meteorological parameters proved from SPSS statistical analysis and by their blooming periods. Statistical analysis showed that there is a high positive correlation of monthly pollen counts with the data from the survey and hospital. Biochemical tests revealed the allergic nature of pollen grains of many local species found in the sampler.

Bio-monitoring, together with statistical and biochemical results, leave no doubt about the role of pollen as a bio-pollutant. General knowledge about pollen allergy and specific allergenic pollen grains of a particular locality could be a good step towards better health for the cosmopolitan suburban city.

The authors especially thank the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for funding the study. Thanks are also due to the directors of the Bose Institute and the Kamala Ray Hospital, Mr. Ananta Ray, owner of the hospital, and Mr. Ananta Ray, for their kind assistance.
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