, Volume 19, Issue 3–4, pp 191–199

Long-term trends and regional variation in the aeroallergen Alternaria in Cardiff and Derby UK – are differences in climate and cereal production having an effect?

  • Julie M. Corden
  • Wendy M. Millington
  • John Mullins


Alternaria is a known aeroallergen, beinga risk factor in childhood and adult asthma.This study compared 1970–1996 daily records ofAlternaria spores in Cardiff and Derby,two very different regions of the UK. There hasbeen a dramatic upward trend in the seasonaltotal for Derby Alternariaspores whereas in Cardiff the trend isdownwards. On certain days in recent yearsDerby Alternaria spore counts haveexceeded 1000 spores per cubic metre of air,but in Cardiff such very high counts have notoccurred since 1970. Derby Alternariaspore levels were most positively correlatedwith wind from the SE (over large stretches ofarable land), whereas in Cardiff the mostpositive correlation was with wind from the north(over grassland). In Derby the increase incereal production, together with highermidsummer temperatures, could account for therising Alternaria counts. This upwardtrend in Derby is expected to continue whereasin Cardiff the coastal position together withthe small amounts of arable production ensureAlternaria spore levels will remain low.The comparison between these two siteshighlights regional differences in the numbersof airborne Alternaria spores andconfirms the importance of maintaining longestablished sites. In Derby these results haveimplications for Alternaria sensitivepatients as very high counts could trigger anasthma attack.

Alternaria asthma cereal production long-term trends regional variation weather 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Buisseret P.D.: 1976, Seasonal allergic symptoms due to fungal spores. Br. Med. J., 507–508.Google Scholar
  2. Corden J.M. and Millington W.M.: 2001, The long term trends and seasonal variation of the aeroallergen Alternaria in Derby, UK. Aerobiologia 17, 127–136.Google Scholar
  3. Frankland A.W. and Davies R.R.: 1965, Allergie aux spores de moisissures en Angleterre. Le Poumon et le Coeur 21, 11–23.Google Scholar
  4. Friesen T.L., De Wolf E.D. and Francl L.J.: 2001, Source strength of wheat pathogens during combine harvesting. Aerobiologia 17, 293–299.Google Scholar
  5. Graveson S.: 1979, Fungi as a cause of allergic disease. Allergy 34, 135–154.Google Scholar
  6. Hirst J.M.: 1952, An automatic volumetric spore trap. Annals of Applied Biology. 39, 257–265.Google Scholar
  7. Hjelmroos M.: 1993, Relationship between airborne fungal spore presence and weather variables. Grana 32, 40–47.Google Scholar
  8. Hopkins J.G., Benham R.W. and Kesten B.M.: 1930, Asthma due to a fungus – Alternaria. J. Am. Med. Assoc. 94, 6–10.Google Scholar
  9. Hyde H.A. and Williams D.A.: 1946, A daily census of Alternaria spores caught from the atmosphere at Cardiff in 1942 and 1943. Trans. Brit. Mycol. Soc. 29, 78–85.Google Scholar
  10. Last F.T.: 1955, The spore content of the air within and above mildew-infected cereal crops. Trans. Brit. Mycol. Soc. 38, 453–464.Google Scholar
  11. Licorish K., Novey H.S., Kozak P., Fairshter R.D. and Wilson A.F.: 1985, Role of Alternaria andPenicillium spores in the pathogenisis of asthma. J. Allergy and Clin. Immunol. 76, 819–825.Google Scholar
  12. McCartney A. and Lacey M.: 1992, The production and release of plant pathogen spores in oilseed rape crops. In: Monitoring and Forecasting to Improve Crop and Environment Protection. Association of Applied Biologists, pp. 121–122.Google Scholar
  13. Mitakakis T., Ong E.K., Stevens A., Guest D. and Knox R.B.: 1997, Incidence of Cladosporium, Alternaria and total fungal spores in the atmosphere of Melbourne (Australia) over three years. Aerobiologia 13, 83–90.Google Scholar
  14. Mitakakis T.Z., Tovey E. and McGee P.: 1998, Exposure levels and sourcing of the airborne allergenic fungus Alternaria, in rural Australia. 6th International Congress on Aerobiology Perugia, Italy.Google Scholar
  15. Newson R., Strachan D., Corden J. and Millington W.: 2000, Fungal and other spore counts as predictors of asthma admissions in the Trent region. Occup. Environ. Med. 57, 786–792.Google Scholar
  16. O'Hollaren M.T., Yunginger J.W., Offord K.P., Somers M.J., O'Connell E.J., Ballard D.J. and Sachs M.I.: 1991, Exposure to an aeroallergen as a possible precipitating factor in respiratory arrest in young patients with asthma. N. Engl. J. Med. 324, 359–363.Google Scholar
  17. Peat J.K., Toelle B.G., Gray E.J., Haby M.M., Belousova E., Mellis C.M. and Woolcock A.J.: 1995, Prelevence and severity of childhood asthma and allergic sensitisation in seven climatic regions of New South Wales. Med. Jour. Aust. 163, 22–26.Google Scholar
  18. Shackley S., Kersey J., Wilby R. and Fleming P.: 2001, Changing by Degrees. The Potential Impacts of Climate Change in the East Midlands. Ashgate Publishing Ltd, Aldershot.Google Scholar
  19. Sreeramulu T.: 1958, Effect of mowing grass on the concentrations of certain constituents of the air spora. Curr. Sci. 2, 61–63.Google Scholar
  20. Stern M.A., Allitt U., Corden J. and Millington W.: 1999, The investigation of fungal spores in intramural air using a Burkard continuous recording air sampler. Indoor Built Environ. 8, 40–48.Google Scholar
  21. Targonski P.V. Persky V.W. and Ramekrishnan V.: 1995, Effects of environmental molds on risk of death from asthma during the pollen season. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 95, 955–961.Google Scholar
  22. Tariq S.M., Matthews S.M., Stevens M. and Hakim E.A.: 1996, Sensitization to Alternaria and Cladosporium by the age of 4 years. Clin. Exp. Allergy 26, 794–798.Google Scholar
  23. The Digest of Agricultural Statistics. Yearly volumes 1963–1996 HMSO.Google Scholar
  24. Zureik M., Neukirch C., Leynaert B., Liard R., Bousquet J. and Neukirch F.: 2002, Sensitisation to airborne moulds and severity of asthma: cross sectional study from European Community respiratory health survey. BMJ 325, 411–414.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie M. Corden
    • 1
  • Wendy M. Millington
    • 1
  • John Mullins
    • 2
  1. 1.Midlands Asthma and Allergy Research AssociationDerbyUK
  2. 2.DerbyUK

Personalised recommendations