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Airborne castanea pollen forecasting model for ecological and allergological implementation

Astray, G., Fernández-González, M., Rodríguez-Rajo, F.J., López, D., Mejuto, J.C.
The Science of the total environment 2016 v.548-549 pp. 110-121
Castanea sativa, apiculture, climate change, correlation, cross reaction, deciduous forests, ecology, economic impact, flowering, food industry, foods, forestry, hay fever, human population, meteorological parameters, neural networks, patients, pollen, risk, time series analysis, trees, woodlands, Spain
Castanea sativa Miller belongs to the natural vegetation of many European deciduous forests prompting impacts in the forestry, ecology, allergological and chestnut food industry fields. The study of the Castanea flowering represents an important tool for evaluating the ecological conservation of North-Western Spain woodland and the possible changes in the chestnut distribution due to recent climatic change. The Castanea pollen production and dispersal capacity may cause hypersensitivity reactions in the sensitive human population due to the relationship between patients with chestnut pollen allergy and a potential cross reactivity risk with other pollens or plant foods. In addition to Castanea pollen's importance as a pollinosis agent, its study is also essential in North-Western Spain due to the economic impact of the industry around the chestnut tree cultivation and its beekeeping interest. The aim of this research is to develop an Artificial Neural Networks for predict the Castanea pollen concentration in the atmosphere of the North-West Spain area by means a 20years data set.It was detected an increasing trend of the total annual Castanea pollen concentrations in the atmosphere during the study period. The Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) implemented in this study show a great ability to predict Castanea pollen concentration one, two and three days ahead. The model to predict the Castanea pollen concentration one day ahead shows a high linear correlation coefficient of 0.784 (individual ANN) and 0.738 (multiple ANN). The results obtained improved those obtained by the classical methodology used to predict the airborne pollen concentrations such as time series analysis or other models based on the correlation of pollen levels with meteorological variables.