Does environmental pollution enhance the allergenic nature of pollen?


Around 3 million people in the Netherlands suffer with seasonal allergic reactions related to the release of pollen into the environment (hay fever). The number of hay fever sufferers is disproportionately higher in cities than in rural areas. Recent research into a few specific pollen types suggests that environmental pollution could be making pollen more allergenic. However, no assessment has been made of the prevalence of polluted pollen in the environmental space, or over the time period, in which people are affected by hay fever.

To understand if pollution is enhancing the allergenic nature of pollen we propose a novel combination of environmental (Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystems Dynamics, University of Amsterdam) and human health (Leiden University Medical Centre) approaches, resources and expertise. Together we can provide the first assessment of the impact of pollution on all abundant pollen types in both urban and rural locations across an entire flowering season. We will confirm if urban pollen are more polluted than rural pollen, and identify any variations in pollution related to pollen type or time period. Findings will provide a scientific basis for urging the reduction of pollution and set the course for future environmental and human health research.





Dr. W.D. Gosling

Verbonden aan

Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica, Instituut voor Biodiversiteit en Ecosysteem Dynamica - IBED


01/01/2020 tot 31/12/2020