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Birch, grass, and mugwort pollen concentrations and intradiurnal patterns at two different urban sites in Berlin, Germany

Abstract

Purpose

The study investigated the seasonal courses and intradiurnal patterns of birch (Betula), grass (Poaceae), and mugwort (Artemisia) pollen at two sites in the city of Berlin in 2014 and 2015.

Methods

The “Motorway Site” was situated at a busy city motorway and the “City Center Site” on the roof of a large hospital. Sampling was undertaken with 7‑day recording volumetric spore traps. Light microscopic analysis led to daily means (pollen/m3 air) and 2‑h means (daily %). Correlation coefficients were calculated to compare pollen season between the sites. Rainless days were examined for their intradiurnal maximum of pollen concentration and corresponding wind direction in order to identify the impact of local pollen sources. Birch trees, grassed areas, and mugwort/field sagewort stems were mapped at both sites.

Results

The seasonal courses of Betula, Poaceae, and Artemisia pollen each showed significantly positive correlations between the sites, but absolute counts were higher at the motorway. Artemisia pollen showed a distinct morning profile at both sites. Poaceae pollen concentrated on the second half of the day peaking in the evening or at night. Betula pollen offered no clear trend, but the main period mostly started at 8 am and lasted until the end of day.

Conclusions

Higher pollen counts at the motorway seem to be associated with the local vegetation that was much more abundant than at the city center. Local sources of weeds (Artemisia) and grasses (Poaceae) releasing pollen at low heights appear to be more contributing for local pollen load than trees (Betula) at these sites.

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Correspondence to Anke Simoleit.

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Conflict of interest

A. Simoleit, M. Werchan, B. Werchan, H.-G. Mücke, U. Gauger, T. Zuberbier, and K.-C. Bergmann declare that they have no competing interests.

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Simoleit, A., Werchan, M., Werchan, B. et al. Birch, grass, and mugwort pollen concentrations and intradiurnal patterns at two different urban sites in Berlin, Germany. Allergo J Int 26, 155–164 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40629-017-0012-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40629-017-0012-4

Keywords

  • Allergenic pollen
  • Seasonal courses
  • Intradiurnal patterns
  • Large city
  • City motorway