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Thirty-four years of pollen monitoring: an evaluation of the temporal variation of pollen seasons in Belgium

Lucie Hoebeke, Nicolas Bruffaerts, Caroline Verstraeten, Andy Delcloo, Tom De Smedt, Ann Packeu, Monique Detandt, Marijke Hendrickx
Aerobiologia 2018 v.34 no.2 pp. 139-155
Alnus, Artemisia vulgaris, Betula, Fraxinus, Platanus, allergenicity, grasses, monitoring, pollen, spore traps, temporal variation, trees, Belgium
For the first time in Belgium, fluctuations in airborne pollen quantities over a 34 years period have been analyzed. Seven pollen types have been selected comprising the most clinically relevant in Belgium nowadays (birch, alder, hazel and grasses) and others that are known to be allergenic in other European countries and frequently found in Belgium (plane, ash and mugwort). Pollen monitoring was performed with a seven-day recording volumetric spore trap placed in Brussels. We measured increasing airborne pollen for four trees, namely alder, hazel, ash and plane. Although the total pollen index for birch has not increased significantly, an increasing trend in the annual amount of days above the concentration threshold of 80 pollen grains/m³ was clearly observed. Concerning temporal variations, the pollen season has tended to end earlier for birch, ash and plane and the peak concentration of the pollen of plane has been appearing earlier in the year. In the investigated period, the pollen seasons of grasses and mugwort have tended to become less severe. Furthermore, we reported a temporal shift of the grass pollen season, beginning and ending earlier, together with an advance of the annual peak date.