RESEARCH PAPER
Risk of exposure to airborne Ambrosia pollen from local and distant sources in Europe – an example from Denmark
 
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1
The Asthma and Allergy Association, Roskilde Denmark
2
Department of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
3
Laboratory of Aeropalynology, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland
4
National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, Institute of Science and the Environment, University of Worcester, Worcester, United Kingdom
5
Laboratory for Palynology, Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Sciences University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia
6
Department of Environmental Biology, University of Rzeszów, Rzeszów, Poland
7
Department of Clinical and Environmental Allergology, Medical College, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Carsten A. Skjøth   

National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, Institute of Science and the Environment, University of Worcester, Worcester, United Kingdom
 
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2015;22(4):625–631
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. is a noxious invasive alien species in Europe. It is an important aeroallergen and millions of people are exposed to its pollen.

Objective:
The main aim of this study is to show that atmospheric concentrations of Ambrosia pollen recorded in Denmark can be derived from local or more distant sources.

Methods:
This was achieved by using a combination of pollen measurements, air mass trajectory calculations using the HYPLIT model and mapping all known Ambrosia locations in Denmark and relating them to land cover types.

Results:
The annual pollen index recorded in Copenhagen during a 15-year period varied from a few pollen grains to more than 100. Since 2005, small quantities of Ambrosia pollen has been observed in the air every year. We have demonstrated, through a combination of Lagrangian back-trajectory calculations and atmospheric pollen measurements, that pollen arrived in Denmark via long-distance transport from centres of Ambrosia infection, such as the Pannonian Plain and Ukraine. Combining observations with results from a local scale dispersion model show that it is possible that Ambrosia pollen could be derived from local sources identified within Denmark.

Conclusions:
The high allergenic capacity of Ambrosia pollen means that only small amounts of pollen are relevant for allergy sufferers, and just a few plants will be sufficient to produce enough pollen to affect pollen allergy sufferers within a short distance from the source. It is necessary to adopt control measures to restrict Ambrosia numbers. Recommendations for the removal of all Ambrosia plants can effectively reduce the amount of local pollen, as long as the population of Ambrosia plants is small.

 
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