Co-occurrence of Artemisia and Ambrosia pollen seasons against the background of the synoptic situations in Poland

Citation: Stepalska, D., Myszkowska, D., Katarzyna, L., Katarzyna, P., Katarzyna, B., Kazimiera, C., Lukasz, G., Idalia, K., Barbara, M. W., Malgorzata, M., Malgorzata, N., Krystyna, P. W., Malgorzata, P. and Elzbieta, W. C. (2016). Co-occurrence of Artemisia and Ambrosia pollen seasons against the background of the synoptic situations in Poland. International Journal of Biometeorology.

SpringerLink

Abstract: The Asteraceae family is one of the largest families, comprising 67 genera and 264 species in Poland. However, only a few genera, including Artemisia and Ambrosia are potential allergenic sources. The aim of the study was to estimate how often and to what degree Artemisia and Ambrosia pollen seasons co-occur intensifying human health risk, and how synoptic situations influence frequency of days with high pollen concentrations of both taxa. Artemisia and Ambrosia pollen data were collected, using the volumetric method, at 8 sites in Poland. Daily concentrations of Artemisia pollen equal to 30 grains or more and Ambrosia pollen equal to 10 grains or more were accepted as high values. Concentrations of more than 10 pollen grains were defined as high in the case of Ambrosia because its allergenicity is considered higher. High concentrations were confronted with synoptic situations. Analysis was performed on the basis of two calendars on circulation types of atmosphere in Poland (Niedźwiedź, 2006, 2015). Co-occurrence of Artemisia and Ambrosia pollen seasons is being found most often, when Ambrosia pollen season starts in the first half of August. If it happens in the last 10 days of August high pollen concentrations of Artemisia and Ambrosia do not occur at the same days. At three sites (Sosnowiec, Rzeszów, Lublin) high Ambrosia pollen concentrations during the Artemisia pollen season appear more often than in other sites under question. The high Artemisia pollen concentrations occur, when continental or polar maritime old air masses inflow into Poland. The impact of air masses on high Ambrosia pollen concentrations depends on site localizations. It is likely, that in the south-eastern part of Poland high Ambrosia pollen concentrations result from the pollen transport from east-south-south-westerly directions and the local sources. Co-occurrence of both taxa pollen seasons depends on the air masses inflow and appears more often in a south-eastern part of Poland.

SMARTER Dissemination Meeting, Milan

The COST SMARTER Dissemination Meeting “Ragweed management and the potential benefit and risk of Ophraella communa in Northern Italy – Researchers meet their Stakeholders” was held on 28th of October 2016, in Rho (Milan). About 100 people, including representatives from Local Authorities and Municipalities, Health Regional Authorities and the Italian National Television, attended the morning meeting. About 40 people participated on the guided visit to the experimental fields in Magnago during the afternoon.

The meeting obtained some good coverage in the press, and it is possible to see the television news here. Also a news article (in Italian): corriere-sera-on-line

SMARTER Final synthesis meeting in Leiden

The final synthesis meeting took place at the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden on October 31-November1, 2016. The meeting was attended by thirteen SMARTER members, mainly form the core group. They shared the latest results and discussed how to link the datasets generated during the project for final publications. Furthermore the SMARTER project was evaluated by naming positive and negative aspects. Finally, input was given for the drafting the final report.

Action Chair, Prof. Heinz Müller-Schärer, leading the discussions on the first day of the meeting in Leiden

Action Chair, Prof. Heinz Müller-Schärer, leading the discussions on the first day of the meeting in Leiden

SMARTER members discussing how to merge datasets for combined publications, and discussing successes and failures of SMARTER

SMARTER members discussing how to merge datasets for combined publications, and discussing successes and failures of SMARTER

Pollen-monitoring: between analyst proficiency testing

Citation: Sikoparija, B., Galán, C., Smith, M. and EAS_QC_Working_Group (2016). Pollen-monitoring: between analyst proficiency testing. doi:10.1007/s10453-016-9461-3.

Springer Nature Sharing

Abstract: This study presents the results of a Europe-wide training and Quality Control (QC) exercise carried out within the framework of the European Aerobiology Society’s QC Working Group and European COST Action FA1203 entitled “sustainable management of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in Europe (SMARTER)” with the aim of ensuring that pollen counters in Europe are confident in the identification of Ambrosia pollen grains. A total of 69 analysts from 20 countries examined a test slide by light microscopy, which contained Ambrosia pollen and pollen from other Asteraceae that could be recorded in the atmosphere at the same time of year (i.e. Artemisia, Iva, and Xanthium). Daily average pollen concentrations produced by individual participants were compared with the assigned value and the bias was measured by z-score. Both the assigned value and standard deviation for proficiency testing were calculated following the consensus value principle (ISO13528:2005) from the results reported by all the participants in the test. It took a total of 531 days from when the exercise commenced until all 69 analysts reported their results. The most outliers were reported for Artemisia pollen concentrations followed by Xanthium and Iva. The poor results for Artemisia and Xanthium were probably caused by low concentrations on the test slide leading to larger bias due to the unequal distribution of pollen over the microscope slide. Participants performed the best in identifying and quantifying Ambrosia pollen. Performing inter-laboratory ring tests with the same sample is very time consuming and might not be appropriate for large-scale proficiency testing in aerobiology. Pollen with similar morphology should be included in the education process of aerobiologists.

Defoliation of common ragweed by Ophraella communa beetle does not affect pollen allergenicity in controlled conditions

Citation: Lommen, S. T. E., Ciappetta, S., Ghiani, A., Asero, R., Gentili, R., Müller-Schärer, H. and Citterio, S. (2016). Defoliation of common ragweed by Ophraella communa beetle does not affect pollen allergenicity in controlled conditions. Plant Biosystems http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/11263504.2016.1244122.

Taylor & Francis Online

Abstract: Ragweed allergy is one of the primary causes of seasonal allergies in Europe and its prevalence is expected to rise. The leaf beetle Ophraella communa, recently and accidentally established in N-Italy and S-Switzerland, represents a promising approach to control ragweed, but negative side effects should be excluded before its use. Since biotic and abiotic stresses are known to influence the allergenicity of pollen, we set out to assess the effect of sub-lethal defoliation by O. communa on the quantity and quality of ragweed pollen. Seventeen sister pairs (including six clones) of ragweed plants were grown in controlled conditions. One of each pair was exposed to O. communa as soon as the plant started to produce reproductive structures. After 10 weeks of exposure, plant traits were measured as a proxy for pollen quantity. Pollen quality was assessed by measuring its viability and allergenicity. Generally, plants produced very few male flowers and little amount of pollen. Damage by the beetle was severe with most of the leaf tissue removed, but no treatment effect was found on any of the quantitative and qualitative traits assessed. In conclusion, O. communa did not increase the amount or allergenicity of ragweed pollen grains in our experimental conditions.