General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Inhalant fungal and plant allergens
Language English
Module lecturer dr Łukasz Grewling, dr Paweł Bogawski, dr Agata Frątczak
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Assistant Professor
Faculty Faculty of Biology
Semester 2021/2022 (summer)
Duration 30


Module aim (aims)

Description of the most common fungal and plant aeroallergens, i.e. fungal spores and pollen grains, with special attention to their distribution, diversity and health impact
• Characterisation of the major allergenic proteins of pollen grains and fungal spores
• Presentation of the methods for aeroallergens collection, detection and quantification
• Introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) and geostatistical modelling
• Impact of climate change and air pollution on pollen seasons and allergic disease
• Identification of allergenic plants in the field

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)
• Basic knowledge about morphology and ecology of fungi and plants
• Basic skills of light microscopy


Week 1: Diversity of pollen and fungal spores (introduction + microscopy workshops, 5h)
• introduction to aerobiology
• characterisation and identification of allergenic pollen grains and fungal spores
Week 2: Release and transport of aeroallergens (2h)
• pollen dispersion in anemophilous and entomophilous plants
• short range pollen transport
• medium- and long-distance transport of allergenic particles
Week 3: Molecular aerobiology - allergenic proteins of pollen and fungal spores (2h)
• characteristics of the main protein families involved in allergy
• biological function of allergenic proteins
• cross-reactivity between allergens
• molecular methods in aerobiology
Week 4: Subpollen allergenic particles and allergenic diseases (2h)
• hypothesis related to subpollen allergenic particles (SPP)
• release mechanism of SPP
• prevalence of pollen and fungal allergy
Week 5: Climate change, air pollution and pollen season (2h)
• impact of climate on pollen seasons
• co-exposure of man-made pollutions and pollen grains
• impact of air pollutants and pollen allergenicity
Week 6: Pollen seasons in urban environments (2h)
• allergenic plant population growth in urban environment
• spatio-temporal variation in phenology of allergic plants
• urbanophile and urbanoneutral species as a threat for allergy sufferers in cities
• does the pollen monitoring reflect the real start of flowering in urban area?
Week 7: Analysis of pollen production (field and lab workshops – 5h)
• identification of allergic plants in the field and collection of pollen samples
• preparation of pollen samples in laboratory (isolation of pollen grains from a flower and preparation of microscopic slide)
• analysis of potential pollen production
Week 8: Statistical modelling of pollen seasons (workshops, using R software, 5h)
• methods for defining the start and end of the pollen season
• pollen concentration as a statistical distribution
• simple and multiple regression models predicting the start and the severity of the pollen season
Week 9: Geostatistical modelling of phenological data (GIS workshops – 5h)
• spatial distribution of the timing of flowering (pollen release)
• mapping the flowering start over large area
• extracting places where the allergen exposure starts as first
• preparing an information booklet showing the period of allergenic exposure on a map (for tourists and inhabitants)

Lectures: 10h
Laboratories: 20h

Reading list

1. Sofiev and Bergmann (Eds,) 2013. Allergenic pollen. A Review of the Production, Release, Distribution and Health Impacts. Springer
2. Lockey and Ledford (Eds.) 2008. Allergens and Allergen Immunotheraphy. Informa Healthcare
3. Hesse et al. 2009. Pollen Terminology. An illustrated handbook. Springer
4. WAO 2011. White Book on Allergy. World Allergy Organization ( ).
1. Pollen atlas started by Pollenwarndienst mainly allergenic pollen grains
2. Pollen atlas started by CREA (Council for Agricultural Research and Economics): pollen grains contained in honey
3. Pan European Phenological database