University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Geographic and Temporal Variations in Pollen Exposure Across Europe

Smith, Matt ORCID:, Jäger, S., Berger, U., Šikoparija, B., Hallsdóttir, M., Sauliene, I., Bergmann, K-C., Pashley, C.H., de Weger, L., Majkowska-Wojciechowska, B., Rybníček, O., Thibaudon, M., Gehrig, R., Bonini, M., Yankova, R., Damialis, A., Vokou, D., Gutiérrez Bustillo, A.M., Hoffmann-Sommergruber, K. and van Ree, R. (2014) Geographic and Temporal Variations in Pollen Exposure Across Europe. Allergy, 69 (7). pp. 913-923. ISSN Print: 0105-4538 Online: 1398-9995

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The EC-funded EuroPrevall project examined the prevalence of food allergy across Europe. A well-established factor in the occurrence of food allergy is primary sensitization to pollen.


To analyse geographic and temporal variations in pollen exposure, allowing the investigation of how these variations influence the prevalence and incidence of food allergies across Europe.


Airborne pollen data for two decades (1990–2009) were obtained from 13 monitoring sites located as close as possible to the EuroPrevall survey centres. Start dates, intensity and duration of Betulaceae, Oleaceae, Poaceae and Asteraceae pollen seasons were examined. Mean, slope of the regression, probability level (P) and dominant taxa (%) were calculated. Trends were considered significant at P < 0.05.


On a European scale, Betulaceae, in particular Betula, is the most dominant pollen exposure, two folds higher than to Poaceae, and greater than five folds higher than to Oleaceae and Asteraceae. Only in Reykjavik, Madrid and Derby was Poaceae the dominant pollen, as was Oleaceae in Thessaloniki. Weed pollen (Asteraceae) was never dominant, exposure accounted for >10% of total pollen exposure only in Siauliai (Artemisia) and Legnano (Ambrosia). Consistent trends towards changing intensity or duration of exposure were not observed, possibly with the exception of (not significant) decreased exposure to Artemisia and increased exposure to Ambrosia.


This is the first comprehensive study quantifying exposure to the major allergenic pollen families Betulaceae, Oleaceae, Poaceae and Asteraceae across Europe. These data can now be used for studies into patterns of sensitization and allergy to pollen and foods.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: food allergy, sensitization to pollen, variations in pollen exposure, prevalence and incidence of food allergies, Europe, airborne pollen data
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
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Depositing User: Karol Kosinski
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2017 14:47
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2020 04:00

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