Articles online

Biological and Chemical Air Pollutants in an Urban Area of Central Europe: Co-exposure Assessment

Category: Urban Air Quality

Volume: 19 | Issue: 7 | Pages: 1526-1537
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2018.10.0365
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Łukasz Grewling 1, Agata Frątczak2, Łukasz Kostecki1, Małgorzata Nowak1, Agata Szymańska1, Paweł Bogawski3

  • 1 Laboratory of Aeropalynology, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, 61-614 Poznań, Poland
  • 2 Department of Plant Taxonomy, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, 61-614 Poznań, Poland
  • 3 Laboratory of Biological Spatial Information, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, 61-614 Poznań, Poland


Interactions of biological and chemical air pollutants increase the risk of allergy.
This study examines temporal coexposure to airborne pollen, spores, PM10 and ozone.
High temperature favored the cooccurrence of pollen grains, fungal spores and ozone.
PM10 and pollen/spores cooccurred within species-specific temperature range.
Allergy prevention strategy requires integrated biochemical air quality monitoring.


Synergistic interactions between biological and chemical air pollutants, enhanced by the effect of meteorological factors, may increase the risk of respiratory disease. Therefore, to accurately evaluate the impact of air pollution on human health, the concomitant behaviors of various air pollutants should be investigated. In this study, the peculiarities of the temporal co-existence of allergenic pollen (alder, birch, grass, and mugwort), fungal spores (Alternaria and Cladosporium), and hazardous air pollutants (ground-level ozone and particulate matter, PM10) collected in Poznań (western Poland) from 2005 to 2016 were analyzed with particular attention to their relation with air temperature. The results of the statistical analysis showed that the daily concentrations of certain airborne particles (pollen, fungal spores, and ozone) significantly increased on days with high mean temperatures. However, high temperatures occurring during earlier stages of development for grass and mugwort, prior to pollen release, decreased the overall quantity of pollen produced and released during the season. Furthermore, the daily concentration of PM10 decreased with increasing temperature. As a result, the co-exposure of alder pollen and PM10 was limited to a narrow temperature range (4–10°C) and mainly recorded during February and March. In most cases, a characteristic pattern was observed: The co-occurrence of air pollutants increased with the temperature. When birch and grass pollen co-occurred with other air pollutants, the temperature was significantly higher (by 2.0 to 8.0°C) than when only pollen grains were observed. In general, high temperatures favored the simultaneous occurrence of pollen grains, fungal spores, and ozone, which was most pronounced during hot days in June and August. Such conditions should therefore be considered the most hazardous for people suffering from allergic airway diseases.


Bioaerosols Allergens Ozone PM10 Respiratory health

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