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Long-term trends in the concentration of aeroallergens: more pollen grains, less fungal spores?

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ΤίτλοςLong-term trends in the concentration of aeroallergens: more pollen grains, less fungal spores?
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsDamialis, A., Halley J.M., Mezarli C., Venetiou E., Gioulekas D., & Vokou D..
Conference NameProceedings, 13th International...
VolumeTokyo
Date Published2012
Publication Languageeng
Λέξεις κλειδιάaerobiology, aeromycology, biometeorology, climate change, daily variations
Abstract

Airborne fungal spores are implicated in various respiratory allergy symptoms prevalent among children, with symptoms as serious as acute respiratory failure. As such health issues are widely known, seasonal and other long-term patterns have been well studied. However, very little information exists on the diurnal changes of fungal spore circulation, especially in Greece. The aim is to detect any existing diurnal circulation patterns of fungal spores so as to be able to predict any safe periods for allergic patients. A monitoring programme for airborne fungal spores has been in operation since 1987 in Thessaloniki. We analysed a dataset of hourly resolution in order to explore the quantitative and qualitative features of fungal-spore diurnal circulation. We investigated these daily patterns for a wide spectrum of taxa, all that contributed more than 0.1% to the total observed spore concentration. To control for differences due to methodology, we used two different methods of spore counting. The salient feature in these results is that in Thessaloniki fungal spores are detected in the air throughout the day. Overall, there is increased variability in airborne spore circulation, which is highly taxon-dependent. Frequently, no systematic circulation patterns were detected, as in the cases of Pleospora, Stemphylium and Ustilago. In cases when a pattern was observed, increased spore concentrations were usually found between midday and evening (12:00-20:00) as in Alternaria, Cladosporiumin and Nigrospora or at night until early morning (00:00-08:00) as in Ascospores, Botrytis and Fusarium. Our results suggest that airborne fungal spores are present in significant numbers throughout each day in the air of Thessaloniki. Any peak concentrations are either non-significant or strictly taxon-dependent. Contrary to the widely-held assumption that fungal spores are mainly found at midday, regardless of the taxon studied and when air temperature is higher, the current results reveal a different situation: either the absence of regular diurnal circulation patterns or taxon-dependent patterns with major peaks taking place at any time of day. This could be the outcome of weather particularities for this region and study period. For this reason, associations with meteorological variables, like rainfall and wind vectors, are likely to be important. We conclude that respiratory allergy symptoms due to airborne fungal spores may be manifested at any time of day, so that the high-risk period is not confined to the midday hours. Keywords: aerobiology

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