University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Concomitant Occurrence of Anthropogenic Air Pollutants, Mineral Dust and Fungal Spores During Long-distance Transport of Ragweed Pollen

Grewling, P., Bogawski, P., Kryza, M., Magyar, D., Sikoparija, B., Skjøth, C. ORCID:, Udvardy, O., Werner, M. and Smith, Matt ORCID: (2019) Concomitant Occurrence of Anthropogenic Air Pollutants, Mineral Dust and Fungal Spores During Long-distance Transport of Ragweed Pollen. Environmental Pollution, 254 (Part A). p. 112948. ISSN 0269-7491

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Abstract: Large-scale synoptic conditions are able to transport considerable amounts of airborne particles over entire continents by creating substantial air mass movement. This phenomenon is observed in Europe in relation to highly allergenic ragweed (Ambrosia L.) pollen that are transported from populations in Central Europe (mainly the Pannonian Plain and Balkans) to the North. The path taken by atmospheric ragweed pollen often passes through the highly industrialised mining region of Silesia in Southern Poland, considered to be one of the most polluted areas in the EU. It is hypothesized that chemical air pollutants released over Silesia could become mixed with biological material and be transported to less polluted regions further North. We analysed levels of air pollution during episodes of longdistance transport (LDT) of ragweed pollen to Poland. Results show that, concomitantly with pollen, the concentration of air pollutants with potential health-risk, i.e. SO2, and PM10, have also significantly increased (by 104% and 37%, respectively) in the receptor area (Western Poland). Chemical transport modelling (EMEP) and air mass back-trajectory analysis (HYSPLIT) showed that potential sources of PM10 include Silesia, as well as mineral dust
from the Ukrainian steppe and the Sahara Desert. In addition, atmospheric concentrations of other allergenic biological particles, i.e. Alternaria Nees ex Fr. spores, also increased markedly (by 115%) during LDT episodes. We suggest that the LDT episodes of ragweed pollen over Europe are not a “one-component” phenomenon, but are often related to elevated levels of chemical air pollutants and other biotic and abiotic components (fungal spores and
desert dust).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

©2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
The full-text of the online published version can be accessed via the official URL.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Ambrosia, Alternaria, air pollution, PM10, SO2, Sahara Desert
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
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Copyright Info: Open Access article
Depositing User: Carsten Skjoth
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2019 08:19
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2020 04:00

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