Nothing to sneeze at: Real-time pollen forecasts

Dec 22, 2008
Scientists have identified chemical structures in pollen -- shown above covering the face and legs of a Marmelade fly-- that could help provide a real-time pollen detection and warning system to help allergy sufferers. Credit: André Karwath

Researchers in Germany are reporting an advance toward development of technology that could make life easier for millions of people allergic to plant pollen. It could underpin the first automated, real-time systems for identifying specific kinds of allergy-inducing plant pollen circulating in the air. Their study is in the current issue of ACS' Analytical Chemistry.

In the study, Janina Kneipp and colleagues explain that current pollen counts and allergy warnings are based on visual identification of the specific kind of pollen by examining pollen grains under a microscope. That procedure takes time, making it impossible for allergy-sufferers to know the kinds of pollen that are airborne on an hour-by-hour basis.

The researchers describe using a common laboratory procedure to identify chemical structures in pollen grains that distinguish oak and maple pollen, for instance, from maple and other kinds. They obtained these chemical "signatures" for 15 different kinds of tree pollen with the procedure, termed Raman spectroscopy. The researchers say that it could provide the basis for a real-time pollen detection and warning system to help allergy sufferers.

Article: "Chemical Characterization and Classification of Pollen", pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/p… ll/10.1021/ac801791a

Source: ACS

Explore further: Bullet 'fingerprints' to help solve crimes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Breakthrough in coccidiosis research

45 minutes ago

Biological researchers at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are a step closer to finding a new cost-effective vaccine for the intestinal disease, coccidiosis, which can have devastating effects on poultry ...

A word in your ear, but make it snappy

55 minutes ago

To most, crocodiles conjure images of sharp teeth, powerful jaws and ferocious, predatory displays – but they are certainly not famous for their hearing abilities. However, this could all change, as new ...

Recommended for you

Bullet 'fingerprints' to help solve crimes

Jul 30, 2014

Criminals don't just have to worry about their own fingerprints these days: because of a young forensic scientist at The University of Western Australia, they should also be very concerned about their bullets' ...

User comments : 0