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Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 291, Issue 7–8, pp 425–431 | Cite as

Airborne Compositae dermatitis: monoterpenes and no parthenolide are released from flowering Tanacetum parthenium (feverfew) plants

  • Lars P. Christensen
  • Henrik B. Jakobsen
  • E. Paulsen
  • Lene Hodal
  • K. E. Andersen
Original paper

Abstract The air around intact feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) plants was examined for the presence of airborne parthenolide and other potential allergens using a high-volume air sampler and a dynamic headspace technique. No particle-bound parthenolide was detected in the former. Among volatiles emitted from the aerial parts of feverfew plants and collected by the dynamic headspace technique a total of 41 compounds, mainly monoterpenes, were identified and quantified by GC and GC-MS. α-Pinene, camphene, limonene, γ-terpinene, (E)-β-ocimene, linalool, p-cymene, (E)-chrysanthenol, camphor and (E)-chrysanthenyl acetate were the predominant monoterpenes accounting for nearly 88% of the total volatiles emitted. The average total yield of volatiles emitted over 24 h was 18,160 ng/g fresh weight of leaves and flowers, corresponding to the emission of approximately 8 mg volatiles per day from one fullgrown feverfew plant. No parthenolide or other sesquiterpene lactones were detected. The present investigation does not support the theory of airborne sesquiterpene lactone-containing plant parts or of direct release of sesquiterpene lactones from living plants as the only explanations for airborne Compositae dermatitis. Potential allergens were found among the emitted monoterpenes and their importance in airborne Compositae dermatitis is discussed.

Key words Allergic contact dermatitis Dynamic headspace High-volume air sampler Volatiles 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars P. Christensen
    • 1
  • Henrik B. Jakobsen
    • 1
  • E. Paulsen
    • 2
  • Lene Hodal
    • 3
  • K. E. Andersen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Fruit, Vegetable and Food Science, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Kirstinebjergvej 10, DK-5792 Aarslev, DenmarkDK
  2. 2.Department of Dermatology, Odense University Hospital, DK-5000 Odense, Denmark e-mail: kea@dou.dk, Tel. +45 65412700, Fax +45 66123819DK
  3. 3.The Danish Asthma and Allergy Association, Hovedvejen 9 C, DK-2600 Glostrup, DenmarkDK

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