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Nothing To Sneeze At: Real-time Pollen Forecasts

Date:
January 2, 2009
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
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.

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: Andrι 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.

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. 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Schulte et al. Chemical Characterization and Classification of Pollen. Analytical Chemistry, 2008; 80 (24): 9551 DOI: 10.1021/ac801791a

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Nothing To Sneeze At: Real-time Pollen Forecasts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222081117.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2009, January 2). Nothing To Sneeze At: Real-time Pollen Forecasts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222081117.htm
American Chemical Society. "Nothing To Sneeze At: Real-time Pollen Forecasts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222081117.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

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