Biological function of pollen grain is to transfer genetic material in plants from male to female reproductive organ. Beside its biological function, pollen is one of the main sources of allergens. Pollen allergens are situated on the surface and inside of the grain. Pollen grain is surrounded by two walls. Outer wall (exine) is made of sporopolenin and it is characterized by distinctive morphological structure. Inner wall (intine) is analog to plant cell cellulose wall.
Among others chemical substances in pollen grain, proteins are the most responsible for causing allergic reactions. (In Ambrosia pollen, 6 allergenic proteins are described).
Content of the pollen grain could be released through the openings on the exine surface or by rupturing of the pollen wall.
Antigens from pollen grains dissolve on wet surfaces in nose, mouth and eyes causing the reaction of immune system.
Start, length of season and the pollen production depends on genetic potential of species and of environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity, light regime (for example one birch tree produces approximately 278 billions pollen grains).
Information on airborne pollen concentrations could be considered important for prevention of allergic reactions.
Airborne pollen monitoring in our conditions starts on 1st of February and ends on 1st November.
The most important parameters that describe pollen season are:
- Start and length of pollen occurrence in the air
- Day with maximal pollen concentration
- Number of days when concentrations are higher than critical values known to cause allergic reactions
Airborne pollen concentrations are the highest during warm, dry days with mild wind, while during cold and wet days the concentrations are the lowest.