, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 127-136

The long-term trends and seasonal variation of the aeroallergen Alternaria in Derby, UK

Abstract

Very little is known in the UK about long term trends of theAlternaria spore although it is known to trigger asthma. It hasrecently become apparent that Alternaria spore levels areincreasing in Derby and a detailed study of Alternaria wasundertaken to investigate the increase in numbers, seasonal variationand diurnal periodicity. The seasonal (June—October)Alternaria spore concentrations show a distinct upward trendand there is evidence of an earlier seasonal start and an increase inthe seasonal duration. There has been a dramatic rise in the number ofdays with an Alternaria spore count above 50 spores per cubicmetre, with the peak daily count usually occurring in August butoccasionally in late July or early September. August generally has thehighest monthly total and for 1991–1998 there was a positivecorrelation with monthly rainfall and average temperature. Day to dayspore levels show a positive correlation between Alternariaspore concentrations and maximum temperature but a slight negativecorrelation with daily rainfall. The peak time for spore capture is14.00–22.00, and more than half the daily Alternariacatch is caught between 18.00 and 24.00 hours. The upward trend inAlternaria spore concentrations may be responsible forincreasing levels of respiratory disease, especially during harvesttime.