Deakin AIRwatch

Pollen counting and forecasting facility

Staff

Cenk SuphiogluA/Prof Cenk Suphioglu
Associate Professor
Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Philip TaylorDr Philip Taylor
Research Fellow
Melbourne Burwood Campus

Nayyar AhmedMr Nayyar Ahmed
PhD Student
Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Marije Liem-WeitsMs Marije Liem-Weits
PhD Student
Melbourne Burwood Campus


pollen examples

Bioaerosols are major contributors to hay fever and asthma and mainly consist of large reproductive structures: pollen grains and fungal spores. Their atmospheric concentrations (counts) are dependent upon the abundance of seasonal vegetation and the dispersal effects of weather patterns. Pollen is  also implicated as a causal agent in large-scale epidemics of thunderstorm-associated asthma. The recent end of Melbourne's long drought has coincided with numerous thunderstorm events as well as a return to peaks in severe asthma and hay fever outbreaks. Associate Professor Cenk Suphioglu and Dr Philip  Taylor are experienced environmental allergists and have regularly collected pollen and spores in a spore trap, microscopically identified them, and used the results for research, and to inform the public of daily allergy risk levels. Currently, the only operational counting station in Victoria is housed  at the University of Melbourne and provided to the public by the Asthma  Foundation of Victoria.

Since there is currently no measure of atmospheric pollen and spore concentrations in regional Victoria (e.g. Geelong) and eastern Melbourne (e.g. Burwood), we have established Deakin AIRwatch, incorporating pollen and spore counting stations at both the Waurn Ponds and Burwood campuses of Deakin University.  This is timely due to ever-increasing allergy and asthma epidemics. Deakin AIRwatch network will not only directly benefit the public with pollen and spore counting service to assist in their allergen avoidance programs but also contribute to significant research and clinical studies, which is lacking  for the greater Geelong area.

Please Note: Grass pollen counting and forecasting season is from 1 October to 31 December every year. Outside these times and in cases where the pollen count is temporarily unavailable, "currently not available" may be displayed.

Pollen count: End of season

Melbourne Burwood Campus:
Currently not available
Ranking

Low

Moderate

High

Extreme

Grass pollen grains per m3 air

0-19

20-49

50-99

100+

 
Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus:
Currently not available

Pollen forecast (for the next 24 hours)

Melbourne Burwood Campus:
Currently not available
Ranking

Low

Moderate

High

Extreme

Grass pollen grains per m3 air

0-19

20-49

50-99

100+

 
Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus:
Currently not available

Important: On days of High/Extreme pollen count forecasts, it is highly advisable that all those who are allergic to pollen take necessary steps to minimize pollen exposure and carry appropriate medication for hay fever and potential thunderstorm-associated asthma.

Time-lapse videos

Video: Time lapse of a flowering rye grass. Male stamens exert from the inflorescence and their anthers dehisce to reveal highly allergenic pollen grains.

Video: Close up, time lapse of anther dehiscence, during which approx 2,000 pollen grains per sac are exposed to the atmosphere. Pollen remains attached to the anther surface in the absence of a wind disturbance.

Video: Real time rupture of rye grass pollen upon exposure to water. The contents of the pollen are ejected through a ruptured pore on the surface of the pollen grain. Approximately 750 starch granules of micron size are emitted from each pollen grain, along with thousands of nano-particles of cytoplasmic debris, which can trigger a thunderstorm-associated asthma.

Related key  publications

  1. Suphioglu, C., Singh, M.B., Taylor,  P.E., Bellomo, R., Holmes, P., Puy, R. and Knox, R.B. (1992). Mechanism of  grass pollen-induced asthma. The Lancet 339: 569-572.
  2. Bellomo, R., Gigliotti, P., Treloar,  A., Holmes, P., Suphioglu, C., Singh, M.B. and Knox, R.B. (1992). Two  consecutive thunderstorm associated epidemics of asthma in the city of  Melbourne: The possible role of rye-grass pollen. Medical Journal of Australia 156: 834-837.
  3. Knox, R.B. and Suphioglu, C. (1996). Environmental and molecular biology of pollen  allergens. Trends in Plant Science 1:156-164.
  4. Schäppi, G., Suphioglu, C., Taylor  P.E. and Knox, R.B. (1997). Concentrations of the major birch tree allergen Bet v 1 in pollen and  respirable fine particles in the atmosphere. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 100:656-662.
  5. Knox, R.B., Suphioglu, C., Taylor, P.,  Desai, R., Watson, H.C., Peng, J.L. and Bursill, L.A. (1997). Major grass pollen allergen Lol p 1 binds to  diesel exhaust particles (DECP): implications for asthma and air pollution. Clinical and Experimental Allergy 27:246-251.
  6. Suphioglu, C. (1998). Thunderstorm asthma due to grass  pollen. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 116:253-260.
  7. Schäppi, G., Taylor, P.E., Kenrick,  J., Staff, I.A. and Suphioglu, C. (1998). Effect of meteorological conditions on the severity of hayfever in Melbourne (Australia). Aerobiologia 14:29-37.
  8. Schäppi, G., Taylor, P.E., Staff, I.A.  and Suphioglu, C. (1999). Concentrations  of the major grass group 5 allergens in pollen and airborne particles:  implications for atmospheric allergen monitoring. Clinical  and Experimental Allergy 29:633-641.
  9. Schäppi, G., Taylor, P.E., Staff,  I.A., Rolland, J.M. and Suphioglu, C. (1999). Immunologic significance of  respirable atmospheric starch granules loaded with major birch allergen Bet v  1. Allergy 54:478-483.
  10. Suphioglu, C. (2000). What are the  important allergens in grass pollen that are linked to human allergic disease? Clinical and Experimental Allergy 30:1335-41.
  11. Taylor, P.E., Jacobson, K.W., House, J.M.  and Glovesky, M.M. (2007). Links between pollen, atopy and the asthma epidemic. International Archives of Allergy and  Immunology 144:162-170.
  12. Erbas, B., Akram,  M., Dharmage, S.C., Tham, R., Dennekamp, M., Newbigin, E., Taylor, P.E., Tang,  M.L.K. and Abramson, M.J. (2012). The role of seasonal grass pollen on  childhood asthma emergency department presentations. Clinical and Experimental Allergy 42:799-805.

Contact

Associate Professor Cenk Suphioglu
Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus
Phone: +61 3 522 72886
Email: cenk.suphioglu@deakin.edu.au

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